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Mona Awad’s Rouge is obsessed with reflections— self-perceptions and the distortions that arise when we stare too long into ourselves. The novel centers around Mirabelle, a skin-care obsessed young woman dealing with the mysterious loss of her alluring mother, and seems to move in the same way that a hall of mirrors does: events and images spin around Mirabelle, never grounded in a concrete sequence, rather surreal and strangely saccharine.
There’s a curious extra-textual layer to “Style,” which is that I started writing it when I was living in the literary wilderness, so to speak. No published fiction to my name—no guide, no map to show me the way out of that place. The story came from a bafflement about who I was as a writer, what it meant to be a writer. By the time I was finishing the story, I hadn’t necessarily landed on a solution to those quandaries, but I had gotten enough approval professionally to have a useful distance from that young-writer distress—to see how the story at heart is sort of a satire of our need to have a self (in the literary world, in the world at large) and how outer recognition does nothing to settle the core angst we’re all trudging through.
– Corey Sobel
Today’s conspiracies are leading the Republican primary, are setting up autonomous zones in major cities across the US, are infecting our colleges, our children, our beer, our bloodstreams. The question of conspiracy is near avoidable: What is a conspiracy? What kinds of conspiracies are available to us? And why are Republicans the only ones who do it with any frequency? It’s this matrix of questions that animates The Conspiracist Manifesto, published anonymously in French last year and translated by Robert Hurely into English in June.