Lydia Yuknavich on Mythologies We Adopt to Make Sense of Violence


Never heard of her, but she writes like a goddamn angel. Beautiful words, ugly things. I think that true storytellers are my favourite authors – I’m thinking of Jeanette Winterson before she got her head stuck up her own intellect. Tolkien, obviously. As the Elizabethans said, you can’t have drama without conflict (although they probably expressed it something like – wearisome is the story without war, begone with thy pale tales of mewling kittens) and so I think that beautiful words about beautiful things lack the bones of a true story.

Oh ffs blah blah blahhhh…. Go read her, not me. Here’s a little quote to reroute this post back to its soul…

“I don’t know how to belong to the story in a way that doesn’t betray it. I don’t even want to be in the story.”

Originally posted on Longreads Blog:

Lydia Yuknavich, author of the acclaimed new novel The Small Backs of Children, has a haunting essay up at Guernica about “Laume,” a mythological water spirit and guardian of all children that her Lithuanian grandmother introduced her to when she was young, and about the stories we tell ourselves to make sense of violence and tragedy:

I had a recurring dream for twenty years that I would have three sons.

I did not have three sons, and I’m fifty-two, so it’s not looking likely. What I did have was a daughter, who died, and one son, sun of my life. But I did have three husbands.

Maybe dreams don’t mean a goddamned thing.

Or maybe they mean everything.

They say you marry a man who is like your father. My father, the artist-turned-architect, molested and abused us. He was big. Angry. Loud-fisted. Marked us forever—three little women, making for…

View original 184 more words

Comments are closed.