Envy Archive

Rebecca Skloot 2010 The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (Crown)

Got me wondering. I mean, who owns what part of this story? That scholarship fund best be getting the proceeds or I’ve been consuming ill-gotten gains. Oh, those cells you’ve donated or had tested? No longer yours. You too could be immortal.  

Elizabeth Gaskell 1855 North and South (Oxford World Classics)

More questions than answers. What’s a ‘fern-harvest’? Are wasps ‘impudent’ or privileged? Does kneeling together really do ‘no harm’? How to wear ‘pomegranate flowers’? And when (at last) might we listen alertly to speeches on ‘capital and labour and labour and capital’?

Claire-Louise Bennett 2015 Pond (Picador)

Nails, like me/us, sullied with scrabbling from those ‘dank and wretched’ (17) ditches that life creates. The expressiveness of jam stains, soaring shifts in syntax. I am the protagonist’s friend, I  put my loving hand on this book, declare myself ‘ensorcelled’ (151).

Dinesh Wadiwel 2015 The War Against Animals (Brill)

Political grace, comprehensively argued, to the songbook of Derrida, Foucault and Girard. Harmony with Adams, descant with Haraway. Depicts nonhuman resistance in prose that weeps. Inspired call for a move beyond sacrificial eating. A day of truce from killability, following Andrea Dworkin. Pecking (new) order

Joy Williams 2016 Ninety-Nine Stories of God (Tin House Books)

99 titles a poem. 99 short furious flashes of fiction. Truths. 49. “One should not define God in human language” but rather descend “ever deeper into the darkness of unknowing.” Then 73’s divine that stays away from the lonely world of humans.

Kim Mahood 2016 Position Doubtful (Scribe)

Relational growth that illuminates ‘different levels of light’ and ‘dimensions’ (30) through the artworking of Australia’s first people in ‘an unstable world where the only thing you can definitively claim as your own is the country in which you were born’ (97).

Jean-François Lyotard 1991 The Inhuman: Reflections on Time (Polity Press) 

An appreciation of synchrony and the necessity and treachery of witness beyond the ‘great monad’ of capital (69). The transformative energy of matter, in all ‘families’, including ‘mechanical, calorific, electrical, chemical, rays, nuclear’ and perhaps ‘spiritual’ (36). The matter of humans included.

Ali Smith 1991 Hotel World (Penguin)

Ghost story for these times. ‘Woooo-oooooh.’ Extractions from the numismatics of capital. ‘Remember you must live …most love…mist leaf’ (30, 237). Life is exchange. I reluctantly close the borrowed hard cover, with joy find a copy at an opshop within the month.

Richard Kerridge 2014 Cold Blood (Chatto and Windus)

Man-boy scouting anthropomorphism as a form of understanding the shared self within the newt, the toad, the snake. In uncanny pond magnetics the slimy scale of nonhuman othering. Our self hurts like the clipping of a toe in the name of science.

Han Kang 2016 The Vegetarian (Hogarth)

The brutality of  meat as family, covered in the beauty of flowers, of stubborn trees. This in a patriarchal hot house that scorches life to death.  Perhaps ‘this, finally, might help you understand what the nation really was’ (201). The book closes.