Krystian Bala was the author of an obscure book just a few years ago but now his novel, Amok, is pretty widely known for aiding in his murder conviction.
Maybe she drowned herself in The Silent Pool. That’s what they thought when they found her green car near the area, lights on and hood up. The Morris Crowley was still full of the writer’s things, including a fur coat, a packed suitcase, and an expired driver’s license.
1991’s Thelma and Louise is a exhilarating thriller about the trouble women can get themselves in just for existing. Just being a woman can feel like a sin sometimes. The expectations put on women are often simple and stifling: look pretty, say little, be pleasing. We get a lot of direct and indirect messages that our sexuality is not our own. Of course, this is a simplification, a generalization, but it is a brutal truth about many moments of a female life. This is what Thelma & Louise addresses with a biting sass.
Assia Wevill was a woman erased for a time, her existence concealed by her final lover, poet Ted Hughes. For decades, he shared very personal things with the world but always wrote Assia out of her own life. More recently, however, Assia’s existence is being retraced again, pieced back together and presented as part of the story of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes. After Sylvia died, Assia stepped into Sylvia’s life for a time, like walking into a ghost’s shadow. She cared for Sylvia’s children, lived in her rooms, and finally, six years later, killed herself the exact same way Sylvia committed suicide.
Patricia Highsmith wrote The Price of Salt, the novel that was rereleased as Carol decades later, in 1949 while undergoing intense psychoanalysis in an attempt to get herself into “a condition to be married.” Being gay was so socially unacceptable at that time that even a free-thinking, tradition-bucking, iconoclast like Highsmith temporarily bowed to the intense pressure to mold herself into who society thought she was supposed to be.
In 1841, Charles Dickens was taking one of his long nighttime walks at the Canongate Churchyard in Edinburgh, Scotland, when a particular tombstone caught his eye. He scribbled down “Ebenezer Lennox Scroggie” in his journal, along with the words “mean man,” which he thought he saw carved on the man’s grave.
I just discovered Richard Wright’s Black Boy pretty recently. It’s not quite a direct memoir (many of the personal facts and anecdotes are fuzzy and were inserted for narrative effect) as it a vivid impression of what it was like to be a young black man in 1920-30ss America. It makes that time period from that perspective alive and present. Reading an evocative account of another person’s experience closes the distance between you. We can never fully know what’s it… Read more »
The 1928 novel Orlando is as much a love letter to literature as it is to a human being. It speaks passionately to those of us addicted to words, who lock ourselves away in quiet rooms and sink into different worlds, shutting off our external senses to sharpen our internal ones.
Pamela Moore wrote Chocolates for Breakfast, an eyebrow raising 1956 novel about lost teenage girls living privileged and depressing lives, when she was only 18. The book was a hit and put the female name Courtney on the map (Courtney Love counts herself among one of the girls named after protagonist Courtney Farrell,) but Pamela never had another hit and killed herself when she was only 27 years old. The popular book had several prints but lay dormant for years… Read more »