Human Blues, the complex fourth novel from Elisa Albert, tells the story of an indie rocker through nine menstrual cycles, as she tries to get pregnant. By her side, keeping her warm and spiritually alive through the labyrinth of doctors and unsolicited advice, is none other than the spirit of Amy Winehouse. This plot and structure alone made it a radical read. But Albert goes deeper. In the singular voice of Aviva Rosner, one worthy of Mickey Sabbath, Albert takes on the foundations of our society: the mythologies of motherhood, the industrial fertility complex, medical hubris, and the barren spiritual landscape. In a voice and style all her own: at once kind, wise, scathing but always funny, Albert has created a story that will challenge all you hold dear. In this wide-ranging interview, we discuss everything from IVF, the Dobbs ruling, Taharat HaMishpacha, and trying out for Rent, among other juicy topics.
I came to Ari M. Brostoff’s essay collection Missing Time in a circuitous manner — but given the subtly all-encompassing manner in which Brostoff writes about various subjects, that seems fitting. I’m a regular listener of the podcast Know Your Enemy, and Brostoff was the guest a few months ago for an episode that included discussion of some conservative thinkers who’d come of age on the Left — and in which Brostoff showcased their knowledge of Vivian Gornick’s work. I was impressed with Brostoff’s breadth of knowledge and ordered Missing Time later that night.
In our morning reading: an interview with Isabel Yap, thoughts on literary biographies, and more.
In our weekend reading: interviews with Julien Baker and Rone Shavers, thoughts on the music of Joe Strummer, and more.
In our afternoon reading: an interview with María José Ferrada, writers on choices, and more.
In our afternoon reading: thoughts on books by Benjamin Taylor and Kate Zambreno, new writing by Janice Lee, and more.
In our morning reading: thoughts on books by Fernanda Melchor and Sasha Geffen, an interview with Sara Mesa, and more.
In our afternoon reading: thoughts on Michael Zapata’s new novel, Emma Ramadan on translation, and more.