Thursday, March 15, 2007

the red parts...

"The Red Parts chronicles the uncanny series of events that led to Nelson's interest in her aunt's death, the reopening of the case, the bizarre and brutal trial that ensued, and the effects these events had on the disparate group of people they brought together. But The Red Parts is much more than a "true crime" record of a murder, investigation, and trial. For into this story Nelson has woven a spare, poetic account of a girlhood and early adulthood haunted by loss, mortality, mystery, and betrayal, as well as a subtle but blistering look at the personal and political consequences of our cultural fixation on dead (white) women. " read more

Jane Carr: Do you agree with Mark Seltzer that ours is a “wound culture?” If, as Seltzer argues, the violated body mediates between private fantasy and public space, then mourning may be either the ultimate act of fetish, or the most fertile site for resistance. Can mourning or the study of violence be recuperative, or are we simply a nation of voyeurs and fetishists?

Maggie Nelson: Brilliant question. That’s the nail on the head, isn’t it? I’m tempted to run on and on in response, but instead I will simply point toward the two best recent books I know on the subject: Judith Butler’s Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence and Susan Sontag’s Regarding the Pain of Others. Both have crucial things to say about the uses and abuses of grief, and the problem of the wound as fetish. Together they have served as a precious dyad for me throughout this time. But I will say this (along with Butler and Sontag): Americans have a lot to answer for, and a lot of work to do, on this account—work we’ll be doing, vis a vis the war in Iraq, for the rest of our lifetimes. The effects of all the repressed deaths and of the physical and psychological wounds that Iraqis and American soldiers will continue to bear in the years after the violence stops— if it stops—will be with us all for some time.

read more of our incredible interview with maggie nelson

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