WCSU

Lily Meyer

In Nicole Krauss's 2017 novel Forest Dark, an Israeli scholar asks a Jewish-American writer, "'You think your writing belongs to you?'" The writer, whose name is Nicole, responds, "'Who else?'" and the professor shoots back, "'To the Jews.'" This scene springs from Krauss's own life. Like the fictional Nicole, Krauss struggles often against readers' desire for her to speak not for herself, but — somehow — for her entire religion.

The Chilean playwright and fiction writer Nona Fernández's Space Invaders, translated into English by the masterful Natasha Wimmer and nominated for a National Book Award, is as addictive as its video game namesake. Fernández writes in short chapters, rarely more than three pages, and each one slides by quickly, but lingers like a dream.

The actress and comedian Jenny Slate opens her memoir-in-essays Little Weirds with an "Introduction/Explanation/Guide for Consumption" — a description of her stage fright, which doubles as a description of her nerves about writing a book.

The Argentine poet and fiction writer Silvina Ocampo (1903-1993) led a truly enviable artistic life. She studied painting with Modernists Giorgio de Chirico and Férnand Leger, then imported their bright, dreamlike techniques into a Surrealist literary style driven by vibrant description. Her sister Victoria Ocampo ran the seminal literary magazine Sur, whose star writers included Ocampo's husband, Adolfo Bioy Casares, and the couple's friend Jorge Luis Borges.

During the 2016 election, I worked in events at Politics and Prose, one of Washington, D.C.'s best-beloved bookstores. My office shared a wall with Comet Ping Pong, a similarly beloved pizza restaurant that became the target of the alt-right conspiracy Pizzagate. The conspiracy, which posited Democratic Party higher-ups trafficking children for sex beneath Comet's concrete floors, was conceptually ludicrous.

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