Loads of Learned Lumber

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Third great new find of 2013

IT'S SHAPING UP as a good year for me, having already come across the work of Karen Hays and Lucy Ives, and now that I am finally getting to the May/June issue of American Reader, I have my third amazng new find of 2013: Carmen Maria Machado.

Her "Especially Heinous: 272 Views of Law and Order SVU" looks like an episode guide to the long-running cop series (which I haven't seen) and indeed uses the actual names of twelve seasons' worth of episodes, but the capsule plot descriptions turn into a novella following the outer and inner turmoil, both professonal and private, of Benson and Stabler (and their prankster döppelgangers, Henson and Abler) as they navigate a treacherous urban landscape of abused girls with bells for eyes and insistent subterranean heartbeats.

Sounds goofy, I know, and I don't think I could sell it to my book club, but a deeply felt humanity lurks in the goofiness and the MFA legerdemain. No book yet, so far as I can learn, but I'll be on the lookout.

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