Sunday, April 15, 2018

Melissa Goodrich

THESE stories zoom toward our planet from the Oort cloud that is Melissa Goodrich's brain. The tales are prismatic and sweetly perturbing, and the language is lemniscate. Like your little brother and sister in a house of mirrors, Goodrich plays tag with your tongue. Tighten your Kuiper belt, sweethearts. This is a fabulous ride.

Thus I blurbed Melissa's first book.

Look for risks. Look for sadness and death. Look for fun. 

7 comments:

  1. Last semester in Intro, I read a few stories from this book, and the one that stood out to me the most was "Anna." In fact, I'd still thought about it, before I revisited it last night. It is just so strange, yet incredibly real and terrifying. I'm surprised about my intrigue for this story, since I am super afraid of gorillas and this story essentially builds on that fear, but I think that the fear makes it all the more interesting. I think that fear is the point. One of my favorite parts of intro last semester was the obscureness of the stories we were assigned to read, and this story is definitely among the most strange. I always say that my favorite genre is "what the fuck," and "Anna" certainly falls into that. It's so strange, yet it's written in such a way that makes it believable that it is all normal in this world. That snow could overtake an entire church, that reptiles can bite off the legs of fancy French men, that gorillas can terrorize a couple in their own home. The sheer bluntness and casualness of the writing leads us to believe that this is all real, and that even in the tragedy and horrifying of it all, it's almost comedic.

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  2. I did find fun in Goodrich's writing. I also found a large detachment from reality and human contact. I was put into the mindset of people and things that I wouldn't normally think of. In these instances, I felt like an object and not a person, and it made me feel small. I enjoyed being transported to new places through the eyes of different objects and people.

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  3. Reading these stories was a real trip. Like pure 4 am fever dream dropped onto paper and just left there to make as much sense as it can. The more I read the more I found myself wondering both if Goodrich was okay and also how I could be more like her because as Val said in her post, "what the fuck" is really the best genre.

    Still mad though, because Cinderella's mom apparently never thought to teach her kid how to handle her own therianthropy? Very rude.

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  4. These stories were so incredibly interesting to me. They reminded me of stories we read in 3x33 and yet they were something completely different altogether. They stood on their own pillar.
    Her writing and stories are filled with comedy and familiarity, and yet dreamlike. Because of the bluntness, we are guided to accept the things that are happening and the rules around us.

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  5. Melissa Goodrich's writing is a strange mixture of fun and death. The two stories that I focused on, "Anna George" and "A Dreamless Year of Feeding Animals" are fun and death in two discrete stories. "Anna George" is a metatextual piece of fun, where Anna George has to deal with a mother turned into an orange, into a seed, into a tree, into an orange again, and a father gone missing and a ghost mistaken for him. There's an author writing the story several states away and who controls the ghost and doesn't realize he controls the ghost. It's the story of an author having fun with her writing with the metatextal in-jokes and one of her themes (women turning into other things) interacting. "A Dreamless Year of Feeding Animals" by contrast is a long dragging story about a modern incarnation of Noah's Arc. You can feel the pain that all eight humans and numerous animals face as they struggle through this year. From June's pregnancy, cursed by God after violating his chastity rule, to the snow covered ocean, to the corpses rising to the surface of the water, to the darkness of the arc, to the remembered visit to Noah's parents before the flood serve to drive into the reader's head what a trial it is, and it makes their loss of faith at the end and breaking of God's commandments completely understandable. It's a horrifyingly well written story that just draws you in.

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  6. I think this is the first time I've read Melissa Goodrich's stories. Her risk of using an objects POV is both maddening and fascinating. At times I wanted more but ended up happy with what was given. "Super" and "She Wants, She Gets" are just so unique from anything I've read before. These stories combine sadness, death, and maybe some light humor that work well together.

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  7. I asked Jacob last night what three stories I should read because I don't have time in my life right now to read anything really. He chose "Lucky," "Anna," and "Daughters of Monsters." Let's just say I had a fun time reading "Anna." But, I digress. I want to comment more on "Lucky." I noticed how the narrators in her stories always feel distant in a dream-like way; it is as if we, the reader, are the main character as we look on to ourselves. "Lucky" is a story with the apocalypse, but is about these two families trying to escape this wall of toxins. In a lot of ways, it reminds me of "The Mist" by Stephen King mixed with toxic fog in "Catching Fire." We get this imminent death through the eyes of a child that doesn't quite understand death until his twin brother is dying. And yet, because they are children, it is playful and has moments of that playfulness (even if the playfulness is dark, like ripping off the legs of a toad).

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