In our afternoon reading: thoughts on B.R. Yeager’s new novel, essays by Amber Sparks and Nina McConigley, and more.
B.R. Yeager’s novel Negative Space is a coming-of-age book full of autumnal imagery and featuring a trio of narrators each struggling with complex issues within their own lives. In that, it is familiar. It’s also a novel in which the border between life and death is navigated with little explanation; where unsettling rituals spark paranoia and obsession; where certain familiar sights and sounds pull back to reveal horrors lurking on the other side. It’s not always the easiest of reads — due to both its structure and its subject matter — but it is deeply rewarding, in its own harrowing way. Reading it at a time when familiar routines are upended at a moment’s notice and the idea of a status quo seems like a luxurious illusion, it feels perfectly suited to this moment in history — a distillation of every emotion I’m feeling right now, in the form of a narrative both familiar and thoroughly unpredictable.