What Else We've Been Reading
Carmen Maria Machado’s new memoir In The Dream House documents the abuse she suffered at the hands of her ‘petite, blond, Harvard graduate’ lover. It's a horrifying but beguiling read which seems to be Machado's trademark combination. At once an exploration of a romance that descends from bliss into gaslighting and abusive control as well as a cultural criticism of the ways in which abuse toward and among women, specifically queer women, is (and is not) represented, this is a truly inventive and accomplished book. Machado is such a unique and brilliant writer and we think everyone should read her!
The pull quote on the front of this book, from Rebecca Solnit no less, describes its author as like Joan Didion at a start-up. Do we even need to say more? It did its job and pulled us right in and, thank goodness, because this is an excellent read. Uncanny Valley recounts Anna Wiener's personal experiences working as an assistant at a drab New York literary agency during a time that she identified as being not quite poor but “privileged and downwardly mobile" to working in Silicon Valley during its height of tech industry idealism. What follows is an expose of the "boyish camaraderie and ride-or-die corporate fealty...a Silicon Valley far over its head, one that enriched itself at the expense of the idyllic future it claimed to to be building". Wiener is hilarious and shrewd and, as Molly Young said of her in her Vulture review, she has the two talents that every memoirist needs: "a devastating eye for detail (the CEO at an e-reading start-up misspells Hemingway’s name in his pitch deck, with two m’s) and the ability to map her experience onto a cultural shift much larger than herself."
An unassuming and melancholic story about first love and friendship from a new voice in Australian fiction. The novel follows Melburnians Hetty and Ness as they fulfill a teenage dream and move to Canada together. " Hetty is charming and captivating, the life of the party. Ness is a wallflower, hopelessly in love with her. In the student quarter of Toronto, the pair take a room in a share house full of self-assured creatives. Hetty disappears into barkeeping work and a whirlwind nightlife, while Ness drifts aimlessly." The book deftly captures the experiences that define youth: love, desire, loss, ambiguity. There is a vulnerability and rawness to McPhee-Browne's writing that many will compare to Sally Rooney and that is completely warranted. This is a really impressive debut!