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Rowan Hisayo Buchanan
Rowan Hisayo Buchanan is the author of Harmless Like You and Starling DaysShe is the winner of The Authors’ Club First Novel Award and a Betty Trask Award. Her work has been a New York Times Editors’ Choice, an NPR 2017 Great Read and shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award. She is the editor of the Go Home! anthology.

Articles Available Online


Cathy Park Hong’s ‘Minor Feelings’

Book Review

April 2020

Rowan Hisayo Buchanan

Book Review

April 2020

Before beginning Minor Feelings, A Reckoning on Race and the Asian Condition, an essay collection by the poet Cathy Park Hong, I sat with...
The White Book feels as if it is being whispered: each paragraph seems to come from some deep and interior place Han Kang wrote it whilst living in Warsaw, though in the book the city is never named explicitly Instead it is only a white city, white for its snow and white for its stone ruins In an interview with Granta, Kang said that when writing this book, she imagined her prematurely dead sister had lived and visited the city ‘in my place’   Photographs are interspersed throughout In some, a woman appears, her face obscured by shadow In others, only her hands are visible She holds a child’s gown She holds a pebble-like object covered in salt The photographs are of white objects, but in contrast to the white pages, they are startlingly grey The specks and splashes of whiteness are surrounded by shadow The woman seems trapped in darkness Who is this woman supposed to represent? The narrator? The ghost of the sister? The novelist Kang? All or none of the above?  The literal answer is that they are photographs of a performance by Kang, shot by the photographer Choi Jinhyuk But within the pages, they seem to carry the spirit of characters — and the novelist herself   The text is a loose collection of thoughts, scenes, and images Few are longer than a page They are gathered into three sections — ‘I’, ‘She’, and ‘All Whiteness’ ‘I’ follows the narrator considering the colour white and describes her sister’s passing ‘She’ imagines the sister’s life Some subsections describe what the sister might have done—having an X-ray, finding a pebble, attempting to befriend a dog Others contemplate white things—seagulls, a dead butterfly, a lace curtain   Both ‘I’ and ‘She’ are pensive and slightly sorrowful At first, this similarity is disorienting: it is hard to see where one perspective ends and the other begins Slowly, the reader realises that this muddling is the point The concern of the narrator is not whether the sister would have been a vastly different person, but what it means to replace one life with another Her mother would not have

Book Review

November 2017

Han Kang’s ‘The White Book’

Rowan Hisayo Buchanan

Book Review

November 2017

The White Book feels as if it is being whispered: each paragraph seems to come from some deep and...

When not listening to the phone messages of recently deceased children or smearing those killed in stadium disasters, journalists at Britain’s largest-selling newspaper, the Sun, may find time to pen light-hearted satires of modern life One such piece was published in January 2003, depicting a new cast of ‘Mr Men’ characters that best reflect twenty-first century Britain After a handful of readers went to the Press Complaints Commission, failing to see the funny side to ‘Mr Asylum Seeker’, ‘Mr Yardie’, and ‘Mr Albanian Gangster’, a new figure was created just for them, ‘Mr Guardianista’:   He suffers bouts of guilt about the poor and homeless but tries not to let it spoil his holiday at a gîte in Provence Dare support the toppling of Saddam Hussein and he’ll choke on his organic vegetarian lunch (washed down with a subtle Chilean chardonnay) Mr Guardianista is also likely to be a student well after an age when he should be working for a living and contributing to a society he thinks owes him one   Guardian readers like myself expect, and embrace, such attacks – we are amazed that our dwindling band of Guardianistas continues to occupy such a prominent place in the national mindset Only 200,000 of us are willing to pay £140 (£230 on Saturday) for the paper, a drop of 11 per cent from last year Guardiancouk may attract over four million unique hits a day (second only to Mail Online in the UK), but the Guardian’s print readership is just over a tenth of the Daily Mail’s and half that of The Times More Britons buy the Scottish Daily Record, yet (as far as I am aware) no pejorative term exists for its patrons   Guardian staff members have enough self-awareness to understand that their work is not to everyone’s taste Last year Michael White, the paper’s assistant editor, listed the charge sheet as follows: ‘Naive, subversive, priggish, lentil-eating, sandal- wearing, feminist, humourless’ Outside of the fold, cartoonish reactionaries tend to project their personal anxieties onto the

Contributor

June 2016

Rowan Hisayo Buchanan

Contributor

June 2016

Rowan Hisayo Buchanan is the author of Harmless Like You and Starling Days. She is the winner of The Authors’ Club First Novel...

The Giving Up Game

fiction

December 2016

Rowan Hisayo Buchanan

fiction

December 2016

The peculiar thing was that Astrid appeared exactly as she did on screen. She was neither taller nor shorter. Her smile had the same...
Harmless Like You

fiction

Issue No. 17

Rowan Hisayo Buchanan

fiction

Issue No. 17

Interstate 95, September 2016   Celeste sat on the front seat wearing her black turtleneck sweater. She had three sweaters: black, blue, and festive....

READ NEXT

Interview

September 2015

Interview with Patrick deWitt

Anthony Cummins

Interview

September 2015

Patrick deWitt’s new novel, Undermajordomo Minor, tells the story of Lucy, a bungling young man hired to assist a...

poetry

Issue No. 3

Two Poems

Rebecca Wolff

poetry

Issue No. 3

I approach a purchase adore my children— back away— that they revere ugliness the rainbow bag that holds a...

Interview

May 2013

Interview with Darian Leader

Kishani Widyaratna

Interview

May 2013

A practicing Lacanian psychoanalyst, Darian Leader is one of a dying breed. It is no overstatement to say that...

 

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