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Rebecca Liu
Rebecca Liu is a commissioning editor at Guardian Saturday and a staff writer at Another Gaze.

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There are only girls on the internet

Book Review

August 2022

Rebecca Liu

Book Review

August 2022

I remember the first time I saw it, like a freshly alert hare alarmed by movement in the distant grasslands. It was 2013. Model...

Book Review

September 2020

Pankaj Mishra’s ‘Bland Fanatics’

Rebecca Liu

Book Review

September 2020

The Anglo-American commentariat is full of lofty egos. Pankaj Mishra has developed a reputation as their great deflater. ‘Watch...

Slip of a Fish is set within the persistent heat of a presciently irregular English summer ‘The blue skies and heat go on,’ Amy Arnold writes ‘Every evening at six thirty, the weatherman points to a map covered in oranges and reds and talks about high pressure and jet streams’ Through the summer we follow Ash, the quick-thinking, word-punning protagonist Often accompanied by her seven-year-old daughter Charlie, she explores her familiar rural surroundings They climb trees, swim and hold their breath beneath the water Ash pushes on, swimming with no thought of the energy needed to return, keeping her head under the water whilst Charlie watches nervously   Ash’s husband Abbott is fixated by his latest material purchases; drawing attention to his new watch and mapping the progress of a skylight installation in their house He exists mainly as adjudicator, chiding her absent-mindedness It is Charlie who is Ash’s companion: ‘There she is Charlie, light of my life, fire of my heart’ Charlie is a frequently dishevelled and quiet presence by Ash’s side   The winner of And Other Stories’ inaugural Northern Book Prize, which was established to discover new authors based in the North of England, Arnold’s impressive debut is strange and dexterous The pace of the book – short sentences, pared language – means the reader is pulled headfirst, sprinting after Ash Inside Ash’s head, words are alive She refers to her  ‘collection’ – a mental list of words that please her ‘I wanted “creepeth” for my collection,’ she decides She takes ‘impromptu’ too, ‘the m, the p, the t’ Arnold has an ability to capture on the page a complex, obsessive mind without veering into pretention or convolution Ash’s neurosis is haunting because Arnold contains it within an otherwise wordless protagonist  Ash has turned almost silent and, with her mouth tightly closed, the speed of her thoughts becomes claustrophobic   Ash connects words, dissects them, and then digresses, following the patterns they evoke Much of the book follows these connections She is absorbed by language and grammar Even when Ash stays still, there is something to ensnare her She lies in bed,

Contributor

August 2019

Rebecca Liu

Contributor

August 2019

Rebecca Liu is a commissioning editor at Guardian Saturday and a staff writer at Another Gaze.

Jia Tolentino’s ‘Trick Mirror’

Book Review

August 2019

Rebecca Liu

Book Review

August 2019

Talk about the fates of young professional women today and you will often alight on two themes: the anxieties that come with living in...

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Interview

May 2017

Interview with Hari Kunzru

Michael Barron

Interview

May 2017

In the summer of 2008, the English novelist Hari Kunzru left London for New York City after accepting a fellowship at...

Art

June 2012

'The Freedom of Speech Itself', or the betrayal of the voice

Lorena Muñoz-Alonso

Art

June 2012

‘The instability of an accent, its borrowed and hybridised phonetic form, is testimony not to someone’s origins but only...

fiction

January 2014

Son of Man

Yi Mun-yol

TR. Brother Anthony of Taizé

fiction

January 2014

Rain falling onto thick layers of accumulated dust had left the windows of the criminal investigations office so mottled...

 

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