RaveThe Skinny (UK)There is an obvious eating disorder analogy at work in Woman, Eating...yet Claire Kodha’s debut is fascinated not just by the psychology but by the systemic construction of want and shame ... Through sensual, frank prose, Kodha locates gendered and generational memories in blood and skin and digestion, rendering the alienation of otherness a distinctly embodied experience ... Woman, Eating is a long-overdue recalibration of the genre: a brilliant, subversive inquiry into the very politics of desire and denial, and a twisted testament to the depths of female appetite.
RaveThe Skinny (UK)It\'s a sticky state of affairs, and one easily primed for tragedy, but New Animal is, if anything, more morbid screwball comedy than grief-stricken drama, fascinated as it is by the absurdity of intimacy and power across both life and death. Baxter’s prose is a heady mix of the bodily and the philosophically deadpan ... This is writing that is sharp and fearlessly chaotic, grappling with the depths humans go to for mere illusion of control. Luridly funny and always surprising, New Animal takes on the promise of catharsis—and upends it entirely.
RaveThe Skinny (UK)Taking place in the months surrounding the devastation of Hurricane Maria, Xochitl Gonzalez’s exploration of diasporic identity is irresistibly warm yet entirely uncompromising, ho[m]ing in on the weight of trying to make it in a country that has ravaged your own. The narrative trips along with evocative rhythm, a straight-shooting prose that, just like its heroes, hides a tender heart beneath a tough, wryly reflexive exterior. And when Hurricane Maria lands Gonzalez pulls no punches, centuries of systemic neglect and oppression contained in devastated infrastructure and two siblings’ unshakeable anger.
Yan Ge tr. Jeremy Tiang
RaveThe Skinny (UK)As she excavates the dark, often tragic histories of these beasts, a profound ecological parable begins to emerge from the bones and jagged skin of these creatures, albeit one that offers no easy morals. What appears to be a postmodern series of fantastic fables morphs into something more unexpected, expertly crafted by Yan Ge: an obscure mediation on the wildness of everyday existence, an evocative, bizarre consideration of the fragile boundaries between the self and the world beyond.
Dantiel W. Moniz
RaveThe Skinny (UK)... hypnotic ... Moniz’s writing crackles with sensuality and the searing heat of the Southern summer, firmly locating every action, every brief thought within the emanations of the tangible world. Surfaces are sticky with salt and sun, food slick with oil, the scent of another person thrumming through the air. In these stories, the emotional and existential have not transcended the primal, they are found deep within it – the complexity of human experience forged in an interiority that is both physical and metaphysical, the body irrevocably entangled with the mind’s delicate business of grief, ambivalence, and want ... There are a few instances where more ambiguity would be welcome, yet Milk Blood Heat is largely notable for its resistance to catharsis, and its bold play with abrupt endings and shorn down perspective. It is particularly effective in Moniz’s exploration of race; offering no pat lessons or easy conclusions, this collection has little interest in catering for a white gaze.