In the preface to his latest book, Census, Jesse Ball tells readers the book is not about what it is about. He wanted to write a book about the loss of his brother who lived with Down syndrome; in the end, he wrote a book about a traveling, dying man who must perform a census of an unknown, magical nature.
In Her Body and Other Parties (Graywolf Press, 2017), Carmen Maria Machado explores the bodies, demons, and desires of twenty-first century women.
Must’ve been a time of contagion somehow he’d picked up like hepatitis C this morbid fear of dying young and his “organs” being “harvested” ribcage opened up, pried open with giant jaws you’d hear the cracking of the bones deftly with surgical instruments the organs spooned out blood vessels, nerves “snipped” and “tied” your organs packed in dry ice, in waterproof containers to be carried by messenger to the “donor recipient” this sick-slipping-helpless sensation in his gut like skidding his car, his parents’ new Audi they’d trusted him with, on black ice approaching the Tappan Zee bridge deep in the gut, a knowledge of the futility of all human wishes, volition
“I’m more interested in challenging the broad belief that genre/form categories are solid or important. I consider this the first lesson of art history: there is no platonic form. No novel, or poem, or play (or woman, or white person, if we branch out of the arts). These categories exist as cultural reference points for better and worse, but the fences are arbitrary and constantly shifting.”