Alt lit often accuses the lit establishment of being boring and outdated, and they are often correct. But there’s plenty of good stuff in that world, too. I thought The Art of Fielding was predictable and obvious, but I also really enjoyed it. I think it might have even made me cry.
Juliet Escoria is a witchy woman, and Black Cloud, her aptly titled debut collection of (autobiographical?) stories, punctures deep into the heart of drug and sexual abuse, and casts a harrowing spell on the reader that, like her characters, will not easily break:
We went to sleep, together but alone, that night. We did no eye gazing at all. Just stared at the backs of our own eyelids, an act that doesn’t take and gives nothing to no one.
This is not an Oprah Book Club selection. These are twelve soul-smashing vignettes, each prefaced by an ominous word: RESENTMENT, APATHY, DISGUST, REVENGE, and so on.