Notes from a Feminist Killjoy by Erin Wunker

Reviewed by Julie Feng 

Erin Wunker’s Notes from a Feminist Killjoy is a collection of essays that, despite being steeped in academic theory, reads more like a letter from a friend. In the tradition of Sara Ahmed, the writer and professor who coined “feminist killjoy,” Wunker pens a collection of thoughts that encourages open and fluid conversation.

“This is a collection of attempts,” writes Wunker. Notes from a Feminist Killjoy has no pretense of grandeur. The notes themselves do not pretend to be a canonical cornerstone of feminist thought—they are simply candid thoughts from one particular feminist. They are, as the author puts it, “notes for conversations, notes from conversations.”

The most powerful theme of the book is the ways in which women connect to one another. Mothers to daughters. Mentors to mentees. Friends to friends. The author to the reader. There’s an entire chapter devoted to female friendship and recurring references to it throughout the collection.

feminest-killjoy-510 Continue reading “Notes from a Feminist Killjoy by Erin Wunker”

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Grandmother’s Hands | Kristen McQuinn

The part she remembers the most is the smell of apples. The fresh, bright smell permeated the warm kitchen, made heavy with the darker, almost sinister, notes of cinnamon and nutmeg. A light spark of lemon flitted over the top before disappearing into the ether. It was the scent of a tradition in the making.

“Slice them thin,” her grandmother corrected, pointing to the thick chunks of apple before the younger woman. “The thinner they are, the more juice and flavor you get out of them. It makes lots of good goop in the filling, too.” Continue reading “Grandmother’s Hands | Kristen McQuinn”

2 Essays | Emily Van Duyne

This Is How You Lose Him

You walk your kid to the beach, alone, although it’s Sunday, and for the last six weeks or so, Sundays have kinda been your thing—the four of you—your son, three and a half, plopped all gangly-legged, blue eyes glowing in the summer sunlight like freaky marble orbs, into the jogging stroller with its tray sticky from last week’s ice cream, despite the hose-down you gave it; his daughter in tow, five and a half, in her pink, heart-shaped sunglasses, her hipster bikini printed with wall-eyed kittens, her face wearing its perpetually curious expression, brows sloping down in their pitch-perfect imitation of her fathers’: she counts the white stripes of the crosswalk as we trudge along in the heat;

but that was last week, or the week before, or any other sunny Sunday when the two of you were off, together. This week, storm clouds gather on the horizon all morning, so all morning, you fart around—walk on the boardwalk with your perpetually-in-motion mother, who seems, these days, to want to spend her time proving at least one law of physics is #thetroof: she cannot sit still, and even in her lack of sitting still, questions whether she should be moving somewhere else, or moving more, the two of you plop your kid back into the aforementioned jogging stroller, head for the boardwalk to exercise, and you’re not two blocks out, barely over the rickety drawbridge that separates your part of the island—a little funky, a little low-rent—from The Island: St. Leonard’s Tract, Atlantic Avenue, Margate with its clusters of high end boutiques; you live in, have always lived in, “The Heights,” an ironically titled place, since it’s the lowest stretch of local land, and was more or less taken out by Hurricane Sandy—so you trudge over the drawbridge, and silently note the flood tide in the bay, how good it would feel to dive beneath the water and swim for a long, slow length of indeterminate time; writing this, now, you stare at the swiftly running clock, recall you have no long, slow lengths of indeterminate time, recall how only those fantasies feel stretched out and slow, indeterminate: you sink beneath the heat of the day, the salt water is cool and coarse, and the light buoys you up to the top where you begin to swim in long, sleek strokes to no place in particular, delightfully alone—but the reality is your mother, talking over the public bus that roars past you on the drawbridge, so heavy it practically bounces the linked wood planks you’re pushing your son over, and your mother is complaining that you need to pick it up, then cautioning you about the storm clouds, how we’re about to get wallopped, maybe we should turn back–  Continue reading “2 Essays | Emily Van Duyne”