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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...

HAL FOSTER’S WORK FOLLOWS in the tradition of the modernist art critic-historian, a public intellectual whose reflection on, and synthesis of, contemporary culture is informed by a deep commitment to history and its writing His influence is considerable, reaching well beyond the disciplinary boundaries of modern and contemporary art into architecture, literature, and critical theory – all arenas in which Foster is an authority His formidable powers of analysis and explication are deployed, more often than not, in the service of disruption and destabilisation, and his work is as polarising as it is revelatory Foster was one of the key critics in the 1980s debate over postmodern art, for example, a debate that turned on redeployments of historical art practice, principally appropriation, and made fierce by art’s role in the culture wars and the inflating art market   Intellectually formed in the heady theory days of late 70s New York, Foster has spent his career exploring the power, promise, and limits of critique His art historical writing covers the bifurcated twentieth century, focusing acutely on pre-war avant-garde practice and its recuperation in the decades after World War II Psychoanalysis looms large in his writing Nevertheless, there is no dogma in Foster’s approach While his sympathies are decidedly Marxist, and key passages from Freud, Bataille, and Lacan are recurring touchstones, critical theory is always for him both methodology and object of history As he says in The Return of the Real (1996), ‘when it comes to critical theory, I have the interest of a second-generation initiate, not the zeal of a first generation convert With this slight distance I attempt to treat critical theory not only as a conceptual tool but as a symbolic, even symptomatic form’   In addition to his art historical writing (Compulsive Beauty (1993), Design and Crime (2002), Prosthetic Gods (2004), The Art-Architecture Complex (2011), Bad New Days (forthcoming, 2015)), Foster is a regular contributor to Artforum, The London Review of Books, and October, where he has been an editor since 1991 Editorial work – some of which we discuss in this interview – has a prominent role in his cultural analysis A notable example, The Anti-Aesthetic, his first edited volume, mapped the uncharted

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....

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Art

November 2015

None of this is Real

Anna Coatman

Art

November 2015

Rachel Maclean’s films are startlingly new and disturbingly familiar. Splicing fairy tales with reality television shows, tabloid stories, Disney...

Prize Entry

April 2015

Smote, or ...

Eley Williams

Prize Entry

April 2015

To kiss you should not involve such fear of imprecision. I shouldn’t mind about the gallery attendant. He is...

Art

August 2017

Becoming Alice Neel

Rosanna Mclaughlin

Art

August 2017

From the first time I saw Alice Neel’s portraits, I wanted to see the world as she did. Neel...

 

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