Sunday, January 29, 2023

Seven top acts of betrayal in literature

Gabrielle Bates is the author of Judas Goat (2023), named by Vulture and the Chicago Review of Books as a "must-read" book of 2023. A Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship finalist, her poems have appeared in the New Yorker, the Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day, Ploughshares, and American Poetry Review, among other journals and anthologies.

At Electric Lit Bates tagged seven "titles [that] contend with the ugly facts of betrayal as a way to investigate, ultimately, what it means to be human, and what it means to love." One entry on the list:
Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison

This novel depicts the childhood and early adolescence of Ruth Anne Boatwright, a fatherless girl in rural South Carolina, in the wake of her mother’s marriage to a volatile, increasingly abusive man. Allison’s prose brings to intense (at times terrifying and painful) life the difficulties of being a child at the mercy of adults and the ways people fail each other. Because the book grapples in a very real way with childhood sexual abuse and includes some racial slurs, readers should proceed, if they choose to do so, with care.
Read about another entry on the list.

Bastard Out of Carolina is among Amy Engel's five top novels in the complicated literature of daughters and mothers, six books that inspired Kristen Arnett's first novel, Stephen Graham Jones's twenty books as great today as they were in the 90s, and Hanna McGrath's five favorite child narrators.

--Marshal Zeringue