Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

The Threat Of Psychic Attacks! Heidi Julavits Explains It All To You

Heidi Julavits’s fourth novel, The Vanishers, sits at the perfect intersection of cerebral challenge and guilty pleasure. In the world of The Vanishers, psychic academies exist to foster talents like astral projection and mental telepathy; Julavits’ characters express hostility and attempt to dominate one another by way of psychic attacks that manifest in a horrifying array of physical symptoms (virulent rashes, bleeding gums, gastrointestinal distress). Across all of her novels, Julavits has explored women’s rivalries and what it means to want to disappear and reinvent oneself elsewhere in a different guise. The Vanishers calls to mind Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Unconsoled and William Gibson’s Pattern Recognition, and the novel’s [...]


A Conversation With Novelist Helen DeWitt

A friend of mine describes herself as a member of “the secret cult of the Samurai”: those who came across copies of Helen DeWitt’s novel The Last Samurai (2000) and fell in love with it and went on to buy countless copies to press into the hands of people they knew would feel the same way. I can’t even remember my first encounter with the book, it so immediately became a part of my interior landscape: The Last Samurai sits alongside Rebecca West’s The Fountain Overflows and James Baldwin’s Just Above My Head in my mental grouping of books that depict the simultaneous richness and dreadfulness of the lives of [...]