Antler Review: March is Old News

March came and went so fast that I’m hardly sure how it happened. I only read a couple of new things, because I like reading old things and I love re-reading. I’m also up to my eyeballs in work as I’m two weeks from a book launch and life keeps lifing. So, this month I’m going to be old and brief.

One of the ways in which life keeps lifing is rage. I am enraged, all the time, at too many things to name. The anger of women is so well-documented in our age that there is not much that’s new to say about it. I appreciate deeply this essay about the anger of Shakespeare’s women and how that keeps his work relevant to our times, by Laura Kolb. It came out in February, but I missed it until March. Here it is, April, and misogyny is not over and it’s still relevant. Check back with this blog in 2o25. Let’s see. Let’s hold our breath.

I loved this next story so much that I laughed and hooted and screeched while reading it, but it’s not new, either. It’s so not new that it won the Sturgeon Award in 2017. As ever, Catherynne M. Valente is ahead of everyone: as we all scrabble to engage with the dystopia threatened by climate change and rising seas, Valente has already perfected the art. The story was reprinted in Clarkesworld, and is a laughcry of a read. We’re all Fuckwits, and we all need to read it.

Finally, I did read one new story that I loved in March. Kelly Robson is so brilliant that it hardly bears mentioning: she’s a current finalist for the Sturgeon, the Nebula, the World Fantasy Award… and everything she turns out is incredible. This short story about a sex worker made me cackle and sigh and think hard about how we use the word “devil,” and that’s all I can say. You’ve got to read it.

In books: I’m reading “The Heavens” by Sandra Newman. I’m reading it slowly, because that’s what kind of a writer Newman is. I first fell in love with her remarkable, unusual prose in “The Country of Ice Cream Star” and I still haven’t recovered. “The Heavens” is about a woman who time-travels when she’s asleep and becomes one of the great inspirations in literary history. It’s disorienting and full of grief and I love it as I love a bitter piece of dark chocolate.

In March, I also read “Thick,” a collection of essays by Dr. Tressie Macmillan Cottom. I was  awaiting this book from the moment I read her essay about the assumption of her incompetence during her pregnancy and delivery. She’s a harrowing and specific writer, and her work forced me to reexamine the underlying privilege of my shock surrounding the election of 2016, as well as the exclusionary nature of beauty. It’s a great book and I cannot recommend it highly enough. The audiobook is read by the author, and she’s steely and perfectly measured in the performance.

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