In our morning reading: reviews of novels by Sarah Rose Etter and Colson Whitehead, an interview with Helen Phillips, and more.
Sara Ahmed argues that fear behaves like a metonymy. It is a sticky, parasitic attachment to objects that slides easily from sign to sign and, in the process, remakes how matter are named, and hence how they exist in the world. This is how “terrorist” sticks to “Islam, Arab,” or “criminal” to “Mexican,” even in the face of arguments (with facts!) that should otherwise unmake them. Whereas anxiety is static, it becomes fear when the object recognizes the fearful (or the other way round), and approaches. Ahmed, citing Freud, explains that these affects are responses to a love that can disappear, that connection which “secures the subject’s relation to the world.” Because fear expects pain, the fearing subject is split psychically between a present and a future, and is felt intensely in the former at the same time they are dissociated from it. Fear may unveil how absent we are in the present. In the moment of fear, the body wants to flee in the face of the feared object. To whom does it turn? Ahmed writes that fear also turns us towards love, towards protection and care for an other. “In this way,” Ahmed argues, “fear is that which keeps alive the fantasy of love as the preservation of life, but paradoxically only by announcing the possibility of death.” At the instance when the body erects a wall between it and the threat, fear also intimates the possibility of a love as intense as fear.
Morning Bites: Devi S. Laskar’s Debut, Helen Phillips, Joe Halstead Interviewed, Trupa Trupa, and More
In our morning reading: thoughts on Devi S. Laskar’s novel, talking with Helen Phillips, and more.
What does the month of July have to offer? Fireworks, rising temperatures, and an increased likelihood of humidity. In terms of books, the outlook is better: everything from debut fiction to reissues of cult novels, along with eagerly awaited books from some of our longtime favorites. Whether you’re headed to the beach or holing up inside with the air conditioning, this month’s new books offer plenty to delight and impress you.
Afternoon Bites: Seth Fried Interviewed, Roxane Gay’s Comics, Richard Chiem, Helen Phillips on Kafka, and More
In our afternoon reading: interviews with Seth Fried and Richard Chiem, Helen Phillips revisits Kafka, and more.
Afternoon Bites: Amanda Petrusich Nonfiction, Jade Sharma’s Playlist, Lauren Groff, John Langan Interviewed, and More
In our afternoon reading: nonfiction by Amanda Petrusich and Lauren Groff, thoughts on Brian Blanchfield’s work, and much more.
Morning Bites: Helen Phillips, D. Foy on Photography, Drew Nellins Smith, Jordan Okumura’s Latest, and More
In our morning reading: new nonfiction from Helen Phillips and D. Foy, thoughts on books by Drew Nellins Smith and Jordan Okumura, and more.
In our morning reading: an interview with Helen Phillips, Richard Hell talks film, Daniel Ralston on the fake Zombies, and more.