Wednesday, November 09, 2022

Ten books that celebrate feral girls

Erin Slaughter is the author of the story collection A Manual for How to Love Us, forthcoming in March 2023, and two books of poetry: The Sorrow Festival (2022), and I Will Tell This Story to the Sun Until You Remember That You Are the Sun (2019). Slaughter is editor/co-founder of literary journal and chapbook press The Hunger and holds an MFA from Western Kentucky University. Originally from Texas, she lives in Tallahassee, Florida, where she is a PhD candidate at Florida State University and was awarded the Edward H. and Marie C. Kingsbury Fellowship.

At Electric Lit Slaughter tagged ten novels and stories about women living at the edge of their animal desires, including:
Marilou is Everywhere by Sarah Elaine Smith

What’s more feral than an adolescent girl living in precarity, bathing in rivers and being raised by her reckless teenage brothers in the woods of rural Appalachia? In Marilou is Everywhere, Smith’s gorgeous, lush prose is wild as the weedy landscape of the young narrator’s mind. The untended grief that penetrates Cindy’s sense of self is fierce and unrelenting below the mask of her quiet compliance; there’s a self-annihilating streak inside of her, a desire to vanish from her body and the place she has been allotted in the world. Then, a neighbor’s teenage daughter disappears, and the mystery of her disappearance overtakes the small town, driving its citizens to desperate ends. Cindy has a clue that could help rescue the missing girl, but she keeps it unspoken while caring for the girl’s declining mother as penance for her guilt. In a refreshing turn, the novel evades the obvious trajectory of “speaking up as empowerment,” instead forcing Cindy (and the reader) to interrogate different kinds of privilege and accountability, and how one person chained to solipsism can set off a domino effect toppling the lives of those around them.
Read about another entry on the list.

Marilou is Everywhere is among Smith Henderson's ten American masterpieces that are actually crime fiction.

The Page 69 Test: Marilou Is Everywhere.

My Book, The Movie: Marilou Is Everywhere.

--Marshal Zeringue