A body is neutral, objective, a fact—no more meant to be interpreted than a rock or a car. Different bodies shouldn’t mean different things, and yet. Other people have different interpretations of my husband’s body: its intent, threat, capabilities, worth.
In Ann Arbor, I’d been known as “the Alaska guy,” which now felt like a pose. Feeling too Alaska for the MFA book-world had supplanted how much of my life I’d felt too book for Alaska. Maybe that was why I’d been unable to progress on my novel. I’d left this place, after all. Had I ever really loved it, or just the way it let me represent myself?
Of Silence and Song doesn’t just reward close, attentive reading. In fact, it demands it. Of Silence and Song is a highly lyric book, advancing a series of impressions rather than the march of a central, tightly reasoned argument.
“Unless one practices medicine or works with medical literature, one is unlikely to encounter the enormous mass of words used to describe the things that go wrong with us. But the words are out there, multisyllabic and waiting.”
All day long Polina sat anxiously waiting in her neighbors’ apartment, with its cracked windowpanes and boiling sausages, filled wall to wall with beds, piles of clothing, and damp water buckets sweating into towels.