Thursday, October 05, 2023

Top ten grudge holders in fiction

Sarah Bernstein is from Montreal, Canada, and lives in Scotland. Her writing has appeared in Granta among other publications.

Her first novel, The Coming Bad Days, was published in 2021. In 2023 she was named as one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists.

Bernstein's new novel is Study for Obedience.

At the Guardian she tagged ten books in which
the grudge holder’s ongoing refusal to forgive, the insistence on the unforgivable nature of the wrong committed, amount ... to a refusal to accept the condition of the world as it is – a refusal that is the basic precondition for a new and changed world.
One title on the list:
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

While not the sole focus of the story, ghosts abound in Ward’s novel, as alive as the living. They appear to the central characters including Jojo, the son of the family at the centre of the book, and they even narrate their own stories. In Sing, Unburied, Sing, the ghosts represent a spectral reappearance of the violent history of the US, and their presence alongside the living suggests the continuing legacies of enslavement.
Read about another entry on the list.

Sing, Unburied Sing is among James Yorkston's top ten road novels, Stacey Swann's seven novels about very dysfunctional families, Una Mannion’s top ten books about children fending for themselves, Sahar Mustafah's seven novels about grieving a family member and LitHub's ten books we'll be reading in ten years.

--Marshal Zeringue