Friday, August 28, 2015

Four More Days!

Here's an academic opportunity for enrichment and participation:

L.M. Montgomery and Gender, 2016

The 2016 L.M. Montgomery Institute's Biennial conference focuses on gender, and there is a whole lot to explore with LMM and gender. From the rivalry between Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe in Anne of Green Gables to the conflicted relationships in the Emily and Pat series, to the richly-gendered text of Jane of Lantern Hill, this conference promises to plumb the depths of Montgomery's own complex ideologies about gender.

Please consider submitting!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

we were liars, by e. lockhart

Wow. I thought I knew what to expect from e. lockhart, and I do, in a very, very general way: Excellence, thought-provoking and complex narration, interesting and multi-faceted characters, unpredictable storylines, humor, footnotes.

we were liars offers all of these qualities, except the footnotes, but it offers them in a way that is not remotely typical of the flippant, quirky style for which lockhart is best-known and widely-beloved. No, we were liars instead offers that most engaging and intriguing of literary tropes, the unreliable narrator. Unreliable, but candid; unreliable, but honest. Unreliable not because she hides from us, but because she hides from herself. She tells the truth, but, as Dickinson does, tells it slant.

Privileged and perhaps spoiled, narrator and protagonist Cadence (Cady), acknowledges her privilege, recognizes the vaunted social status of her mother’s family: “We are Sinclairs. No one is needy. No one is wrong. We live, at least in the summertime, on a private island off the coast of Massachusetts,” reads the back matter, and Cadence suggests, “Perhaps that is all you need to know. Except that some of us are liars.”

The lies of the title and back matter pervade the novel substantively and thematically; the ones we see first seem part and parcel of being part of a socially prominent family: we are happy and perfect. Others are more subtle: who lies? About what? Why? I can’t really discuss the specifics of these lies without spoiling, so I won’t. Suffice it to say that we were liars puts lockhart in a subtly new category of excellence.

Read it.

Friday, February 13, 2015

L.M. Montgomery Special Issue of The Looking Glass: New Perspectives on Children's Literature

Hello readers and scholars!

The journal at which I am an editor is presenting a special issue focusing on the life and work of L.M. Montgomery, author of Anne of Green Gables (and so many more novels, stories, poems, and life-writings). Please consider sharing your work with one of our many sections, from the amusing to the reflective to the academic to the pedagogical. The link to the paper call is here. Take a little time and browse the journal, to get a sense of who we are and what we do.

Peace to you all, and thank you for considering us for your work!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Rainbow Rowell really rocks

I have resisted reading Rainbow Rowell, even though I had heard nothing but good things about her work. But I needed an audio book, and Fangirl was new at my library, so I picked it up. And didn't want to put it down (or leave the car, in this case). Rowell manages to take conventions and tropes and transform them into fiction that is engaging, challenging, entertaining, and so, so, SO well-written. The meta-fiction of it is skillfully done: Rowell creates the writerly voices of both Gemma T. Leslie and her protagonist, Cath, and makes them both believable and distinguishable. The dysfunction within the primary relationships emerges slowly, organically, sometimes painfully, and utterly effectively. And, miraculously, much of that dysfunction is resolved, primarily through the growth and emerging confidence of Cath, but also through various acts of bravery and faith from other characters. Watching the hot messes begin to make sense of themselves and recognize their own absurdity was immensely satisfying. Fortunately, I received two more Rowell novels for Christmas, and I'm VERY excited about seeing what they have to offer.">