MixedGuernicaDebriefing contains passages that will likely become fodder for those determined to dismiss Sontag’s novels and stories. Pedantic abstractions, overworked sentences, lines of dialogue robbed of force by their tags: Pervasive here is evidence of John Wain’s claim that Sontag wrote a 'translator’s English.' But Debriefing also contains enough stirring insights, enough moments of intensity and wit and percipience, to merit a reexamination of Sontag’s fiction. The fact that the strongest stories here are those that read least like stories proper—that, indeed, read like essays—may compel us to reexamine, too, the utility in separating fiction from criticism in the first place ... There’s little formal or thematic consistency to this collection: Each story feels like a fresh experiment, another stab (sometimes in the dark) at narrative technique. Nevertheless, the book presents an illuminating record of the ideas that preoccupied Sontag throughout her career ... the worst entries in Debriefing are precisely those in which Sontag constrains herself to mere storytelling. The best are those in which she grants herself the full run of her mind.
Édouard Louis, Trans. by Michael Lucey
RaveBOMB\"At once a Künstlerroman and a coming-out narrative, The End of Eddy tracks the intellectual and sexual becoming of a boy whose flamboyance, whose ‘fancy ways’ and ‘queeny gestures,’ place him at odds with the conservative ethos of his village, locking him in a struggle between his organic nature and the expectation that he will replicate, in both demeanor and life ambition, the men he grew up around … Louis has a genius for showing how poverty can wear down the human mind. It drains his family members of any excess tenderness; it forces them into increasingly twisted contortions of justification … Eddy has his eyes on the world outside this narrow realm, and his desire to flee seems almost borne of his sexuality, as though being gay and being an ‘arrogant class renegade,’ as he calls himself, were mutually generating phenomena.\