The novel takes the reader on a tour of a not-too-distant American past, when fear was weaponized and righteous rage boiled over. Smyer’s debut explores themes of the self in chaos; the prose is clean as bone and the anger is focused and piercing.
So far their task has been simple. While a narrative might stray a bit in one telling, or embellish or neglect a detail in another, they’ve received and recorded the stories without substantial disagreement. But now, in this moment, a woman sits in front of the Grimm Brothers, telling them a story of siblinghood that offers a bit of concern.
Lyrical, brooding, and delightfully dreamlike, the novel is a strange and ruthless journey into the ailing heart of humanity—and a bizarre peek into the mind of a brilliant new novelist.
Our babies were unborn. They were manufactured by Mattel. Plastic or not, we had no capacity to deal with crying children. We had no time for child rearing. Didn’t we struggle enough in managing the minutiae of our own lives? We masturbated far too frequently to care for another human being.
So why, today, is autofiction making such a comeback? What does it do, or appear to do, that other forms do not? My guess is that, given how in our ethos, in the age of social media, privacy is passé and the personal is public, many readers want from their authors what they want from their friends on Facebook: personal transparency.