"To be woman is to be monstrous," Zimmerman writes, and in essays as arresting as this statement, she shows that this monstrousness, far from being the fault condemned by patriarchal culture, is a source of strength women should accept and foster. Blending personal stories, Greek mythology, and reflections on femininity, Zimmerman asks what would happen if women, instead of being pliant, allowed themselves to bare their claws, be fearsome, and fight back? Monsters like Medusa, the Sirens, the Furies, and the many others Zimmerman discusses, are powerful, unrestrained, and enduring; through their examples, Zimmerman calls for women to embrace their powers--razor teeth, snake hair, and all.
Can Xue’s first story collection in over a decade is a frenetic adventure through China’s slums. These sixteen pieces show the gritty reality of urban life, taking readers through sewers, behind concrete walls, and inside claustrophobic rooms. At the same time, with their varied and unreliable narrators, these narratives seem to unfold somewhere between the physical world and the fantastic world--charting dizzying liminal spaces where the only constants are incessant change and uncertainty. Despite this fundamental disorientation, Can Xue’s stories are threaded by questions of human nature, and what it means to share space with other forms of life. I Live in the Slums is not for everyone, but those that do decide to venture into Can Xue’s world will certainly be mesmerized.
Babalola, a self-proclaimed “romcomisseur,” breathes fresh air into ancient myths with her debut, a collection of short stories that have love and fully-realized heroines as their focal points. The myths she adapts are not the largely familiar Greek and Roman tales, but rather draw on the beautiful lore of Ghana, Nigeria, China, and many others. A true expert in romance and its tropes, Babalola writes with charming playfulness; her characters are witty, and their dialogue will have you rooting for their love. Her prose takes the readers into sunny, colorful places where warmth and magic abound. Reminding us that love is always something to celebrate, Love in Color is simply a joy to read.