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Author Archive: "Lidia Yuknavitch"

Suffer the Children

A fellow writer wants to know more about something I've written, something centering on a child's body at the center of the storm of war. She asks, "Why bring violence and sexuality so close to the body of a child?" Her eyes blur and magnify when she says it. I can hear the flutter of worry in her voice. We are both mothers. We have both lost children.

I take a long time answering.

Let me start over. We are in a bar. Two menopausal women writers. Our middle-age barnacles up around all the newly formed couples swimming in and out between booths and things like colorful fish. The teeming-with-life bar waters slide right through us. We could be somebody's mother.

I don't know what my writer friend is thinking, but I suspect it's something about protecting children. I suspect she's worried I've gone too far this time. It's a fact that her writing is exceptionally loving and giving. It's a fact that her books make people feel good. And we need that. A lot. I am grateful for her writing and giving. I often wish I could write something similar, ...

Lidia Yuknavitch: What I’m Giving

In this special series, we asked writers we admire to share a book they're giving to their friends and family this holiday season. Check back daily to see the books your favorite authors are gifting.

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Well, I had my sights set on an entirely different wonderful novel by a woman, and then Doris Lessing died.

Her broad face and transparent eyes. Her unruly hair. Her brilliant, unkempt mind that took language to the interstices between the socius, the sexual, the intellectual. Her deep understanding of why we have to reject the scripts life hands us as so-called "women." Her smile and laugh and sharp-witted responses to the banality of media coming at her. The beauty of her imagination.

I choose The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing because the book changed my life path by giving me permission to write away from the Great White Western Male tradition. With abandon and pleasure and fire. In this book you will find not a traditional plot, but layers of writing and meaning that one must piece together to find the story. You will find how tenuous the line between subjectivity ...

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