“The work of being a writer involves a continual examination of one’s work, one’s own self, as well as one’s biases, in relationship to the wider world”: Kaitlin Solimine chats with Hasanthika Sirisena about her debut novel, Empire of Glass, out now from Ig Publishing.
“I think of all the recent research that shows us that our notion of conscious decision-making is a post hoc rationalization of something that’s happening in the non-verbal portion of our brain, which is way more powerful than our conscious portion, or how limited our ability to be congnitive is.”
“What’s beautiful about translation is that it forces us to contend with that truth: that we are selecting one of many options. Or, that we can potentially see many options at once. Because, as you say, we’re moving to the side, we’re looking at it through an imperfect lens, or a lens that makes visible the imperfection of looking.”
“There are people who talk about themselves in the first person, people who talk about themselves in the third person, and people who don’t talk about themselves at all,” says a character in A Meaning for Wife. Yet poet Mark Yakich’s debut novel is narrated–quite successfully–in the controversial second-person.
Jacob Paul’s debut, Sarah/Sara, is not a joyful read, but it is a deeply moving one. The novel unfolds as the journal of Sarah Frankel, an American-born Jew who, shortly after finishing college, moved to Israel, where she took the Hebrew version of her name (“Sara,” pronounced Sah-rah) and became far more ritually observant than she was raised to be. After her visiting parents are killed in a suicide bombing in the café below her Jerusalem apartment, Sara embarks on a six-week, solo kayaking trip through the Arctic. Throughout the beautiful yet dangerous trek, Sarah’s thoughts turn not only to her past—memories—but also to an imagined future, one that challenges her faith.
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