Articles by Lydia Kiesling
March 5, 2014
High genre is fiction that allows you to investigate an individual text, because it is full of its own traits and merits, whether in its characterizations, its plot, or its prose. Regular genre, I suppose, is something you can only talk about as a family — tracing the themes shared collectively among its members. High genre will always be vulnerable to the taint of its lower peers, because it shares the equipment, the same beats. This is why people are drawn to True Detective, and yet can accept assertions that it is just another dead naked lady show.
January 24, 2014
I’m a known pig, but over the course of my 20s I have been successfully indoctrinated against certain kinds of fast food and most grocery items that come in packages, which leads to confused, contradictory, and offensive positions on things. I won’t eat a Keebler Snack Cake, but I will eat an entire salami. I spurn the Olive Garden, but regularly eat a calorie-laden burrito filled with God knows what. I see fellow bus-riders with translucent McDonald’s bags to be fed to young children and feel sad, disregarding my past encounters with the Quarter Pounder and the Whopper.
December 7, 2013
When I wasn’t reading a bunch of depressing shit, I read some strange and wonderful things.
November 5, 2013
Let’s say that my previous efforts with this book were equivalent to the disappointing herbal cigarette from a store called Groovy Vibes, or a bag of mulch obtained at the concert from someone’s questionable cousin. But this time I got, so to speak, the good shit. You eat the Henry James mushrooms, you look upon his dense thicket of sentences, his plodding parade of commas, and suddenly the text, and the entire world, come into insane focus.
October 9, 2013
The Circle occupies an awkward place of satire and self-importance.
September 23, 2013
Twitter somehow encompasses both sides of the Emily Dickinson dichotomy. On Twitter, the Nobodies have seized hold of the mic and managed to occupy the bog.
August 21, 2013
I never see a 7-Eleven Big Bite and don’t instinctively desire to eat it. I know that Heinz ketchup is unmistakable and precious. A new paperback purchased with crisp American dollars? That’s bliss. A Stephen King book? That’s Shangri-la.
July 16, 2013
Trying to find a name for Charlie Smith’s genre or style, I come up with “Disordered Lives of the Poets.” But how to pigeonhole this new novel? Lapsarian Lyric? Casuarina Crime? Key Noir? James Wood would think of something good.
June 5, 2013
There is a small, deadly class of book that makes you never want to set pen to paper again. Tao Lin’s novel is a grave case of this kind, where you are faced with the consequences of writing down all the things you do or think. What if they sound like this? Colorless, witless, humorless. Picking out individual passages cannot express their cumulative monotonous assault on the senses.
May 30, 2013
One hundred years later, Modernism seems like a biggish tent. But really, it’s about as descriptive a term as “sandwich;” reading the learned essays invoked, in my crude mind, a long-running argument that my friends have about what is or is not a sandwich. Is a taco a sandwich? A hotdog? It is all a darkness.