Leslie Jamison

  • One Thing or a Mother

    NEAR THE END OF SUITE FOR BARBARA LODEN, Nathalie Léger’s guerrilla-critical reckoning with Loden’s 1970 film, Wanda, Léger visits a ghost town in Pennsylvania, not far from where the movie is set. A coal seam has been burning underground there since 1962, “an inferno buried beneath the town that slowly, slyly devastated everything, engulfing gardens, swallowing cars, and sometimes apparently children too.” Though a sign reads, WELCOME TO HELL, Léger notices “no sign of destruction, no trace of those terrible events. . . . This is what hell must be: erasure. And down below, the fire rages on.”

  • Guided by Voices

    What we talk about when we talk about women talking: Gossip. Secrets. Men. Sex. Babies. Broken hearts. First dates. Messy divorces. The Bechdel Test. Men again. Still. Always?

    In Miriam Toews’s new novel, Women Talking, the women are talking about men. Specifically, they are talking about the men who have repeatedly drugged and raped them in their remote Mennonite colony, knocking them out with an animal tranquilizer in the middle of the night before violating them in their own bedrooms. After years of being told that they were suffering from hysterical delusions, or else being punished by

  • Of Human Bonds

    In immediately palpable ways, Mary Gaitskill’s new novel, The Mare, feels far away from the risqué terrain she’s famous for illuminating. There’s no arrogant john pushing a teenage girl’s mouth onto his dick in a cramped car, no lawyer bending his secretary over his desk to spank her for typos, no model’s apartment in Paris with marzipan in the pantry and clap shots in the fridge. At first glance, The Mare seems to have traded the sordid for the bucolic, abandoned Bosch for Rockwell: We get bike rides down country roads, horses galloping across open fields, county fairs full of festive pastel