RaveFull StopRoy herself is very attentive to the voices and backgrounds of her real-life characters, especially those in a position of power who can make their voices heard through their speeches, policies, or indeed, their books ... Some of these essays are focused on national issues and others on larger structural ones, but the local and the global are in constant contact, working in parallel, producing and reinforcing one another in a mad feedback mechanism, an accelerated cycle of chicken and egg ... The best part of Roy’s analysis is her own use of language: she has a snarky, accessible voice, and she is brilliant at narrative, putting events in order and drawing a line with lucidity through what seems to be an overwhelming chaos. Few people are able to do this well ... Roy’s work is an important part of a current academic and social interrogation of Indian politics in which Ambedkar is undergoing a renaissance and being analyzed with urgency, to explore what alternative paths the Constitution could have taken ... The weakest points are notably when Roy falls into oversized, broad language. Perhaps the essays that feel most dated are those on the war in Iraq and US politics, in which she writes in the Chomsky-Zinn-Berger tradition ... I was surprised by the delicacy of tone, the steel fist in a glove of velvet. In this case the length does Roy a favor: a single piece that might feel too strongly worded can moderate itself, self-correct, find its place within the overall critique ... Roy balances her data points with her gift for tracing a narrative line ... These are big questions, but few people write as Roy does, in a soft lilting voice that persuades us to walk with her, and to plot our approaches together.
Maria Gabriela Llansol, Trans. by Audrey Young
PositiveFull StopGeography of Rebels gathers three short books by the Portuguese writer Maria Gabriela Llansol ... Geography of Rebels is an exploratory text, not the kind of narrative that Deep Vellum usually publishes ... A great part of the appeal of Llansol’s work is the way that it follows the consequences of dissolution to their extreme, as the \'I\' transforms into other people beyond oneself, the present moment transforms into other histories beyond the present time, and human contact transforms into a wholeness beyond the constraints of the written page.