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☞ YR PSYCHIC INTEGRITY IS AT RISK. And, frankly, the only way to protect yrself from the dangers that loom thick in the astral interstice is to take a master class from our premiere spectral spectator: JULAVITS.
☞ BONUS CONTENT: the stage will be shared by Hari Kunzru, who will be launching the paperback of HIS critically-acclaimed novel GODS WITHOUT MEN, as well.
☞ As our narrator warns us in THE VANISHERS’s opening pages, “this is not just a story about how you can become sick by knowing other people. This is a story about how other people can become sick by knowing you.” Accordingly, if I know you and you don’t attend? You make me sick and I will make you sick.
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IF YOU THOUGHT I WAS DONE RUNNING MY MOUTH ABOUT THE VANISHERS BY HEIDI JULAVITS, YOU WERE WRONG. <END TRANSMITTAL>
“No one ever admits that a mother’s greatest heartbreak is when she begins to see her child as the embodiment of her own worst self. Literally, it is as if her worst self—that shameful part she’s able, most days, to quarantine—has been loosed upon the world and refuses any longer to take orders from her.”
—Heidi Julavits, The Vanishers
EXTREME MAKEOVER: SUBWAY EDITION
The New Shame
This is pretty cool, guys. Two of our best writers talking to each other. No one threatens to kill anybody, which is an improvement on Mailer and Vidal.
It seems our Tumblr dashboard is filling up with authors talking to authors, and I LOVE IT.
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20 Reasons Why THE VANISHERS Might Have Been Regressively Written by a Future Heidi Julavits as a Gift to Of-Late Me
1. Goddess energies, obvo.
2. “In other words, this is not just a story about how you can become sick by knowing other people. This is a story about how other people can become sick by knowing you.”
3. Repeated use of the word “astral.”
4. “Part 1” plays out as a psychic campus novel. Imagine Bennington with spectral activity in addition to the numbing sex and booze and there you have it.
5. This phrase: “stained-glass windows unto the astral abyss.”
6. A character central to the book’s mystery is, early on, referred to exclusively as “the Leni Riefenstahl of France.” Miss you, Steven Bach.
7. “I think we both knew, before she flipped the card, that it would be the Fool, cautioning me not to take the imprudent path.” This is quite like what happened to me when a friend had me pull my card for the new year. (Previously.)
8. In an early passage, a specter of Fenrir, the mythical Norse wolf, becomes an embodiment of heartsickness and feasts upon its prey. Please see Neville being devoured by the jaws of heartsick grief in Episode 5 of The Waves.
9. Speaking of Woolf, a major male character is said to resemble her. Later still: “He really did look like shit, like Virginia Woolf after she’d been dredged from the river bottom.”
10. “Clarity, it turns out, is a death sentence,” Alwyn said. “Kincaid decided that by introducing patients to ‘reambiguation,’ i.e., by removing a person from his or her ambiguity-free, suicide-provoking context, he could offer them a viable suicide alternative.”
“How does a person reambiguate?” I asked.
“Kincaid prefers to call it vanishing,” Alwyn said.
“How does a person vanish?” I said.
“They leave and never go home,” she said. “It’s a very simple process.”
11. A psychic character is described as a brunette Cyndi Lauper, and is referred to as such for the rest of the scene. So, SheLaup in general, but also: Vibes.
12. This phrase: “a copse of spectral trees.”
13. Our heroine spends some time convalescing in semi-exile at an exclusive European spa. Shades of Mann and Brookner are tantamount to infinite bliss.
14. Meet my new mantras: “To forget is to respect the past, and the enable your pleasant future”; “…revisiting one’s memories could result, over time, in a form of self-erasure”; “The past is not the past if it is always present. Memory is an act of murder.”
15. “I knew from experience how unsettling it could be not to resemble the person once known as you.” Nose-break shellshock, guys!
16. Mention is made of the pleasing aftereffects of Grüner Veltliner. My body is basically 80% GV!
17. “It was my error not to understand: anyone can wake up one morning and decide against living. Every single day, the very healthiest among us might be seen to have a fifty-fifty chance of survival.”
18. “Concern was a bullshit way of caring for a person you couldn’t or wouldn’t love.”
19. “To be forgiven is to be released into the ether, untethered and alone.”
20. The discovery of reason and resolution in the dark interstices of female rivalry. (We can now add “Abmominations” to the ranks of Frenemies and Nemesisters.)
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And what if we’re not referring to people as carriers of disease but people as diseases? The self is a source of contagion, oftentimes an unwitting one. He makes me sick, you’ve said of your ex-boyfriend. She’s toxic, you’ve said of your boss.
And maybe he did, maybe she is. After you become afflicted, after the doctors finger you as the cause, it’s instinctual to blame others for your physical misfortune. But blame is lonely, and your loneliness is compounded by the fact that you’re scared to go outside. To be near others is to risk further exposure and, worse, humiliation.
But what if you are not the only victim here? What if your daily online visits to this person whose ruin you’ve charted are not so benign? What if you are not a spectator to her demise? What if you are to blame for her shitty life?
What if you are her disease?
In other words, this is not just a story about how you can become sick by knowing other people. This is a story about how other people can become sick by knowing you.