Saturday, October 15, 2022

Seven books starring characters with rare abilities

Rita Zoey Chin is the author of the widely praised memoir, Let the Tornado Come.

[The Page 99 Test: Let the Tornado Come]

She holds an MFA from the University of Maryland and is the recipient of a Katherine Anne Porter Prize, an Academy of American Poets Award, and a Bread Loaf scholarship. She has taught at Towson University and at Grub Street in Boston. Her work has appeared in Guernica, Tin House, and Marie Claire.

Chin's new book, The Strange Inheritance of Leah Fern, is her first novel.

At Electric Lit the author tagged seven books "filled with ghosts—ghosts of the dead, ghosts of memory, living ghosts, manufactured ghosts—and with haunted characters who live at the cusp between worlds and who shine with grief and hope." One title on the list:
The Butterfly Lampshade by Aimee Bender

“There’s something in her,” says Elaine to her sister at the start of this pitch-perfect navigation into the vicissitudes of mental illness. “There is a bug in her.” On the brink of a psychotic break that will land her in a long-term psychiatric facility, Elaine is referring to Francie, her eight-year-old daughter, whom she desperately wants to protect even though she doesn’t have the psychological means to do so.

The novel follows Francie after she moves in with her aunt, uncle, and newborn cousin and, years later, takes an unusual approach to time travel, setting up a memory tent on balcony, from which she journeys back to the period around her mother’s hospitalization. As she seeks to understand a series of unexplainable events revolving around a collection of two-dimensional objects that have somehow escaped their two-dimensional worlds, the common denominator between these objects is Francie, who appears to have a mysterious but unquestionable reach into another realm. Written in prose so lush and evocative that I found myself rereading whole paragraphs solely for the pleasure of it, this novel is a meditation on the magic that can bloom from trauma.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue