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This is one of my very favorite conversations - I can't believe I had the opportunity to speak with MacArthur fellow Kelly Link and brilliant new novelist Jordy Rosenberg! We had the conversation just a few days before Link's MacArthur Award was announced, and just a few days after Jordy's book was shortlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Award!
Kelly Link is one of the 2018 MacArthur fellows. She's the author of four collection of short stories, Stranger Things Happen, Magic for Beginners, Pretty Monsters, and Get In Trouble. She's also the co-editor and co-owner (with her husband Gavin Grant) of Small Beer Press and the literary magazine Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet.
Jordy Rosenberg is the author of the absolutely excellent anti-capitlism, anti-authoritarian, love story, Confessions of the Fox. and of the nonfiction book, Critical Enthusiasm: Capital Accumulation and the Transformation of Religious Passion.
How fantastic elements in fiction can fall into reinforcing political power; how capitalism works like magic; how we turn social forces into entities; when characters becomes concepts and vice versa; autotheory; scent, senses, and pleasure in fiction; Mandy and zombies; murder; disassociation as a strategy; the evolution of consciousness through novels; and a whooooole lot of literature.
• A few author mentions right off the bat: the great Carman Maria Machado's award-winning book of short stories, Her Body and Other Parties and also the YA fantastic fiction writer, Holly Black (you might remember Holly's work from the Spiderwick Chronicles movie), and the creator of the vampire Saint Germain, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro.
• You can read the much-praised (and the praise is more than well-deserved) "Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose" by Kelly Link here. (Below is the painting by John Singer Sargent that the story takes its title from).
• The Roland Barthes quote is a bit messier than Jordy's lucid rendering of it: "(writing often is)...merely that foam of language which forms by effect of a simple need of writing. Here we are not dealing with perversion but with demand. The writer of this text employs an unweaned language: imperative, automatic, unaffectionate, a minor disaster of static…: these are the motions of ungratified sucking, of an undifferentiated orality, intersecting the orality which produces the pleasures of gastrosophy and of language."
• A great introduction to the diagnoses in psychoanalysis is A Clinical Introduction to Lacanian Psychoanalysis: Theory and Technique by Bruce Fink. It's very clear, despite its complex subject matter.
• My conversation with Samuel Delany from 2013 is here; I wish I'd had a podcast back then! But anyway, he's awesome. Go read it.
• Assata: An Autobiography, is a classic that had an influence on Jordy's novel and deserves to be widely-read. (The photo of Assata below seemed appropriate, given our discussion of escape and entrapment. If you're unfamiliar with her, you may be acquainted with her famous quote: “Nobody is going to teach you your true history, teach you your true heroes, if they know that that knowledge will help set you free.”)
• Here's a wide-ranging conversation between Jordy and the author Maggie Nelson that's well worth your time.
• Mandy is waiting for you, like it or not. (Shout out to the Shrike!)
Until next time, folks!