5.4 The Meat and Bones of Life: Erika T. Wurth with Leif Sorensen (RE)

With the publication of her most recent novel, White Horse, Erika T. Wurth breaks from the realism that characterized her earlier fiction and ventures into horror. White Horse follows Kari, an urban Native living in Denver, as a family heirloom belonging to her long-missing mother launches her into a world of the uncanny: ghosts and monsters lurch into real life and portals transport her into scenes from the past that reveal traumatic family secrets. Wurth speaks with critic Leif Sorensen and host Rebecca Evans about what abides at the intersection of politics and craft, and what’s at stake in particular for the Indigenous writers of genre fiction whose work takes shape at that intersection. Their conversation pokes serious fun at everything from the faltering literary truism that being good at plot is somehow less impressive than being good at characterization to debates over authenticity in Native literature. Horror, as Wurth describes it, offers real and meaningful pleasures, solves the craft problems of over exposition, and opens up powerful questions of identity, politics, and history. Tune in for recommendations for genre writers from the emerging Fifth Wave of Indigenous fiction, reflections on orality and linguistics, and Wurth’s cure for “writer’s depression” instead of writer’s block!

Mentioned in this Episode:

Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird
Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony and Almanac of the Dead
Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio
Tattered Cover Book Store
Talking Scared Podcast
Stanley Hotel
Red Power movement and the American Indian Movement
Tommy Orange’s There, There
Water protectors
Idle No More
Black Lives Matter
Astrophil Press
The Writer’s Chronicle
Daniel Heath Justice’s Why Indigenous Literatures Matter
Save the Cat!
Erika T. Wurth’s “The Fourth Wave” and “The Fourth Wave in Native American Fiction”
David Treuer’s Native American Fiction: A User’s Manual

Wurth also references and recommends a number of genre writers, from romance to speculative literature to crime fiction to horror and beyond. Check out her picks, including B. L. Blanchard, V. Castro, Kelli Jo Ford, Lev Grossman, Grady Hendrix, Brandon Hobson, Marlon James, Jessica Johns, Stephen Graham Jones, Stephen King, Victor LaValle, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Danica Nava, Rebecca Roanhorse, and David Heska Wanbli Weiden!

Listen and Read:

Audio: The Meat and Bones of Life

Transcript: 5.4 The Meat and Bones of Life

5.5 They’re Not Metaphorical Demons: Mariana Enriquez and Magalí Armillas-Tiseyra Novel Dialogue

Booker Prize shortlister Mariana Enriquez, author of Things We Lost in the Fire and The Dangers of Smoking in Bed, joins Penn State professor Magalí Armillas-Tiseyra and host Chris Holmes to talk about her most recent novel, Our Share of Night, her first to be translated into English. Our Share of Night follows a spiritual medium, Juan, who can commune with the dead and with the world of demons, and his son, Gaspar, as they go on a road trip to outrun a secretive occult society called The Order that hopes to use Juan and Gaspar in their unholy quest for immortality.  Publishers Weekly called it “A masterpiece of literary horror.” In a wide-ranging conversation, Mariana reflects on being a horror writer in Argentina, a country that obsesses over its traumatic past. Indeed, Mariana’s interest in writing fiction in the horror genre was prompted by hearing her first horror stories, the terrors of torture and disappearances under the Argentine Junta government. The three discuss Mariana’s use of violence, especially when it involves children; the various afterlives of the translations of Mariana’s award-winning fiction; and the arborescence of the novel form. Humor and dry wit cut through these weighty topics to make for a lively conversation with one of Latin America’s most important contemporary writers. Mentions:  Silvina Ocampo Mariana Enriquez,  La Hermana Menor -The Things We Lost in the Fire -The Dirty Kid Ray Bradbury, The October Country José Donoso Juan Carlos Onetti Ernesto Sabato Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights Ingmar Bergman, The Hour of the Wolf A Nightmare on Elm Street (film) Titane (film) Pope John Paul II The Oulipo Movement Aleister Crowley Chris Holmes is Chair of Literatures in English and Associate Professor at Ithaca College. He writes criticism on contemporary global literatures. His book, Kazuo Ishiguro as World Literature, is under contract with Bloomsbury Publishing. He is the co-director of The New Voices Festival, a celebration of work in poetry, prose, and playwriting by up-and-coming young writers. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
  1. 5.5 They’re Not Metaphorical Demons: Mariana Enriquez and Magalí Armillas-Tiseyra
  2. 5.4 The Meat and Bones of Life
  3. 5.3 “It’s on the Illabus”
  4. 5.2 Writing the Counter-Book: Joshua Cohen with Eugene Sheppard (JP)
  5. 5.1 We Have This-ness, Y’all!

Photo by Ty Williams on Unsplash

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