Review: Turbulence, David Szalay
Trigger warning for the book: domestic violence
David Szalay’s Turbulence started out as a series of short radio stories for the BBC. The slim 160-page novel circles the world; each chapter title consists of two airport codes (such as LAX, YYZ, SEA, DHA, and DEL) which sets the scene for where the novel will travel next. Each chapter is awarded its own protagonist, who is introduced in its preceding section, allowing the novel to be read as a collection of briefly linked short stories. Still, the compact chapters do not detract from the relatability of their struggles, as each of them face some form of turbulence.
Interview with The Scribe
As I made my way over to The Scribe one autumnal morning, I was struck by the serenity of the scene before me. Even in November, I could still wear my favorite wool coat and sneakers—a rarity for all Torontonians. A few struggling leaves still clung to their branches, while the Danforth was littered with specks of orange and red. A morning without class worked its usual cure on my psyche, leaving me feeling uncharacteristically smug, smiling to myself on the street—like someone who has never heard the word “midterm” or “exam” in their life.
Disney’s Encanto: A tale of accurate representation and political criticism
I’m happy to say that Disney’s Encanto positively surprised me. As a Colombian, I am used to bad representation. From Narcos to the foreign obsession with Pablo Escobar, I don’t expect media accuracy when it comes to my country. As a result, when Disney first announced their production of Encanto, I was skeptical at best. After the Mexican critiques surrounding Coco, and the lack of Colombian writers in the movie, this skepticism morphed into dread over what I thought would be an attempt at taking the fantastic things my country had to offer and fall short in the delivery; I feared that Encanto would become a representation of something I couldn’t recognize. Needless to say, I didn’t have high expectations when I walked in, but on leaving the theater my critiques about representation were almost minimal.
The Student, The Angel, and Golden Autumn: A Narrative Essay
The Student, The Angel, and Golden Autumn: A Narrative Essay “That night [Jacob] arose… [and] Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the break of dawn.” (Genesis 32:22-24) The Malaise of deep autumn arises. It floats above and below the clouds, it...
Feeling for the Final Girl: Empathy and the Spectacle of Suffering in Horror Films
How do we distinguish between horror and tragedy? Both feature often graphic depictions of intense human suffering, from gore to rock-bottom misery. Yet, for some reason or another, tragedy elicits our pity while horror elicits our excitement. Our natural, human response to suffering is empathy, but somehow this switch is temporarily turned off as we encounter the horror genre. Perhaps this phenomenon is unexplainable, a mere mystery of human nature; perhaps it is not.
Squid Game: Sensationalized Violence or Social Commentary?
Squid Game follows Seong Gi-Hun, a South Korean gambling addict who, strapped for cash, falls prey to a mysterious man in a subway station who offers him an opportunity to make thousands of dollars—all Seong has to do is call the number on his card. When he calls, a mysterious voice tells him to wait outside his apartment at midnight, and when he does, he is picked up in a van and knocked unconscious by a sedative gas. Gi-Hun and a few hundred others meet the same fate and are gathered on a remote island to play a series of children’s games with high stakes—if you lose, you get shot and killed. If you win, you stay alive until the next game and keep playing in hopes of winning a multi-million-dollar prize.
Behind the Screens: Virtual Influencers and Authentic Inauthenticity
For all the flack that influencers get, there’s something telling—maybe even honest—about this definitively internet-era career. A lot of us don’t like to admit it when we’re followers rather than trendsetters, but to even call someone an influencer is a tacit admission of the plasticity of human desire. Shiny social media profiles exert their little influences over us, sponsored ministrations leaving fading fingerprints on our brains to break our banks. No one is immune to advertising. Our susceptibility is nothing to be ashamed of. After all, humans are social creatures. Regardless of the mediation of the digital world, isn’t it natural to be touched and changed by human voices, human faces?
Review: The Lost Time Accidents by Síle Englert
Amelia Earhart’s bones are calling out from the dark drawer they’ve been left in. Two satellites are whispering to each other in between stars. You are tired. You want to go home1. And it seems that home is the dust you were made from. All this and more exists in Síle Englert’s new poetry collection The Lost Time Accidents, released in early October. She moves fluidly through time and space, and throughout the collection her voice is marked by mourning for the parts of the world that are overlooked and things that are left behind.
Why Short Stories Matter in the Long Run
Short and sweet like their name, I’ve always felt that short stories are the most overlooked literary form. What’s not to love? After all, you get the satisfaction of finishing a novel without the hard work of having to read a full novel which, as a Literature student who is constantly bombarded with hundreds of pages of mandatory readings per week, I greatly appreciate.