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Lily Hoang

Forfatter af A Bestiary

11+ Værker 126 Medlemmer 6 Anmeldelser

Værker af Lily Hoang

A Bestiary (2016) 51 eksemplarer, 1 anmeldelse
Changing (2008) 27 eksemplarer, 2 anmeldelser
Fairy Tale Review: The Yellow Issue (2013) — Redaktør — 15 eksemplarer
The Evolutionary Revolution (Trenchart: Maneuvers) (2010) 11 eksemplarer, 1 anmeldelse
Underneath : a novel (2021) 8 eksemplarer, 2 anmeldelser
The Coupon Thief 2 eksemplarer
The Foxes 1 eksemplar

Associated Works

My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales (2010) — Bidragyder — 990 eksemplarer, 25 anmeldelser
Haunted Legends (2010) — Bidragyder — 188 eksemplarer, 4 anmeldelser
Lilith Unbound (2008) — Bidragyder — 17 eksemplarer
Fairy Tale Review: The Violet Issue (2008) — Bidragyder — 9 eksemplarer
Stamps, Vamps & Tramps (2014) — Bidragyder — 6 eksemplarer, 1 anmeldelse

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Kanonisk navn
Hoang, Lily



This might be the most depressing book I’ve ever read. There wasn’t one moment in reading it that I did not feel terrible.
Andy5185 | 1 anden anmeldelse | Jul 9, 2023 |

My Review
: Disturbing story of disempowerment's most extreme and appalling cost. That it is based on a true story made me feel ill.
...I'm pretty sure this isn't purgatory, either. It's more just like, extension. Continuation. We the murdered continue on, right underneath the living, but we aren't alive anymore. We're just here: bodies, but not bodies, too. So far as I can tell, the living can't see or hear or feel or smell us, but sometimes, if I get close enough to Martha, I swear she can taste me. ... Because we were murdered, this is our punishment.

As one expects from stories published by Red Hen Press's Kate Gale, there is a weird and unsettling tension between the lovely language and the sheer awfulness unfolding inside those pretty phrases and unnerving images. Why should the murdered, especially these child-victims, be made to suffer punishment? Discuss amongst yourselves after reading this intensely book-clubbable book.

Incest...prostitution...child-murder...maternal child abuse...domestic violence...and told through a dead child's point of view. "Is this old man round the bend for good?" I hear y'all thinking, as you read my sentence above about the book being "intensely book-clubbable." No: I'm hoping to make it plain to you that this story is so viscerally real, so eye-wateringly honest about the actual experience of mothering for a not insignificant segment of women, that y'all bougie book clubbers could do with a corrective lens to all the saintly, rise-above-it-all, succeed succeed succeed "women's fiction" guff that gets Oprah'd and Reese'd. Please note that I am not attempting a knock on these book clubs, they are hugely popular for a reason and their choices are not all in one and only one vein...but they are very fond of a certain type of story (described above) and return to books telling it quite often. Don't fix what ain't broken.

I want people to look past the usual and see the raw edges where things have failed and fragmented in different ways. Where the fault lines that exist in much of the world go at a different angle. I include myself in this, as my periodic reviews of *shudder* poetry and *urp* YA stories demonstrate. Successful for me or not, these reads are in areas I'm hell-bent-for-leather not to ignore simply because I so very often find read. As I've said many times, I do not want to die above the neck before I die below it. So I'm out there sayin' "yes" when people offer me the damn things instead of running away like I want to...challenging my prejudices is the only way I know to prevent them from becoming part of the bone structure.

With Underneath, Author Hoang very much did that kind of challenging. We're not innocents, readers all, we've read The Lovely Bones and/or seen its movie. Dead narrators in fiction go a long, long way farther back in time than that. I'm not sure this take on the story she's telling here, a sort of slo-mo In Cold Blood, is one I'd've recommended to her. (I sure as hell wouldn't've recommended using w-bombs.) But when you're fully in the flow of the story you can see why this choice was exactly right, and possibly the only one she could have made. There was no other structure which would've enabled the Bernice-to-Martha-to-Arlene transmission of woman-violence to come clear. It needed an eyewitness whose eyes weren't in the same place they used to be. Like, Earth.

The pace of storytelling...well...I don't exactly know what to tell you. This isn't a novella, but it's not a long book. It doesn't linger on any scene. It simply is Arlene...talking to you. The story seems, in my experience of reading it, to tell itself to you in some peculiar way. Maybe the narrator being a child, who specifically says she's a child but one whose, um, existence after death keeps her learning, is so disorienting that the story becomes more of presence than she is? I can't be sure...but to me, the story was its own narrator, and it called itself Arlene. (If that makes any sense to you, could you explain it to me?) It doesn't repeat itself. It doesn't leave stuff out (for long). It's got a pull like a river's current, not dramatic but inexorable and powerful, like it won't let you go once you're there.

So go with it.

The structural facts of a novel told in discrete story-slices, layered with the sadness that floats under the surface of the ever-expanding skin of mother eating, of child growing, of marriage to a man who loves only what he needs and not what he wants bloating as its death-gases seek irregular, like the crumb structure of the best bread is. Not for Author Hoang, writing about cake...endless cakes made and eaten, made and eaten, never ever shared...the dense, regular, sweet crumbs left on an unused party-plate. The coarse and unappealing crumbs, food for scavenging ants, of hollow-sounding adulterated loafs of dollar-store bread; these make Martha's and Arlene's lines as they slip and catch and form shapes no one wants to see, just sweep into a trash can or, at best, into a crumb-catcher for possible crushing and reuse after they're fully hardened and useless as food in themselves.

There is a crisis in this world. It's a crisis of unlove. There are so many, many people in the world who are unloved. Who can't love or return love or even conceptualize it. They're incapable of it; they need it the more desperately because of that. But they don't and can't and won't get love. They are love-less. Bernice? Martha? Even, in the end, Love, you see, isn't a word or a fancy chocolate bar, or a birthday card. It's action, investment of time and emotion. And the tragedy, in the ancient sense as well as the modern, of this story is that It. Is. True.

Beautiful sentences telling a dreadful, tragic tale of love, in its absence and its perverse, incomprehensible to normies, twisted shapes. Read this and be very, very glad you are none of these people.

Read this and shudder to your bones: You are all of these people. Happy Spooktober.
… (mere)
richardderus | 1 anden anmeldelse | Oct 11, 2021 |
Imaginative, but ultimately, I think, a bit trite in its vision. I was hooked in the beginning & then became disenchanted. Best when involved with its characters: the Sylphs & the Henkelmeyers. Tedious when it goes on and on about the Imperial Council, the Evolution Council & the Evolutionary Revolution. Reads as if the author made it up as she went along, rather than having a plan. Not a bad approach in & of itself, but in this case, the result isn't altogether satisfying.
Paulagraph | May 25, 2014 |


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Janet McNally Contributor
Dawn Manning Contributor
Theresa O'Donnell Contributor
Lincoln Michel Contributor
Ben Pelhan Contributor
Li Sung Contributor
Cetoria Tomberlin Contributor
Shelley Puhak Contributor
Betsy Cornwell Contributor
Brandi Wells Contributor
Emily Carr Contributor
Toshiya Kamei Translator
Ben Loory Contributor
Marthe Reed Contributor
Sandra Doller Contributor
Don Mee Choi Translator
Anna Maria Hong Contributor
Hyesoon Kim Contributor
Peter Markus Contributor
Zachary Mason Contributor
Espido Freire Contributor
Maria Xia Contributor
Kiki Smith Cover artist


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