Sunday, March 24, 2024

Seven books that show storytelling has consequences

Toby Lloyd was born in London to a secular father and a Jewish mother. He studied English at Oxford University before moving to America to pursue an MFA in creative writing at NYU. He has published short stories and essays in Carve Magazine and the Los Angeles Review of Books and was longlisted for the 2021 V. S. Pritchett Short Story Prize. He lives in London.

Lloyd's new novel is Fervor.

At Electric Lit he tagged seven "novels and memoirs that reveal truths (or untruths) that were better left unsaid." One title on the list:
Yellowface by R. F. Kuang

The morality of portraying a minority group in fiction also animates Kuang’s novel, Yellowface, though here the group in question is Asian Americans rather than Jews. And, crucially, the author who takes credit for having written the novel within a novel isn’t a member of the group. When Juniper Hayward steals her dead friend Athena Liu’s manuscript to edit and publish as her own novel, she tells herself she isn’t doing anything really wrong. The manuscript as Liu left it was in no fit state to publish, and she only means to give it the final polish required to let the book outlive its author. However, once she has started lying about the manuscript’s provenance, she finds herself heading rapidly down a track she cannot turn off. Soon, both June and Athena’s reputations are dragged through the mud, with accusations of colonial plundering and internalized racism thrown at each of them.
Read about another entry on the list.

Yellowface is among Sophie Wan's seven top titles with women behaving badly, Leah Konen's six top friends-to-frenemies thrillers, and Garnett Cohen's seven novels about characters driven by their cravings.

--Marshal Zeringue