We Are Now Open For Submissions!
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
Mid-September, I attended an exposition of local and regional experiments in text and sound hosted by Opus 40, an upstate museum and sculpture park located in Saugerties, New York. Verbatim (the name of the event) entailed a day’s worth of performances held between an indoor reading room and an outdoor stage space backdropped and canopied by deciduous trees. Opus 40 is also the name of the on-site earthwork sculpture hand-sculpted by one Henry Fite (an artist with whom I was unfamiliar before visiting) in the middle of the twentieth century. Between performances, I wandered around the ramps, platforms, and steps cut from stone that make up the sculpture, which struck me as an expansive human-made facet of its woodsy environment more than anything else. The behemoth work was toiled over by Fite for nearly four decades, reaching its de facto completion in 1976 when the artist, while at work on the project, slipped and fell to his death.