Here is a lovely review of The Walmart Book of the Dead. Speaking of Gothic-y stuff, I’m teaching an American Gothic Lit course this semester and there’s been a lot of focus in the texts I assigned, and the conversations that have resulted from them in class, on the north vs. south divide in this country. We’ve been talking about how the north “reads” the south in a way that flatters the perception that the north is an enlightened place and the south is an ignorant place–hence the publication of southern gothic short stories in The New Yorker: they’re flattering to New Yorkers! But as we reach the half point in the semester, some of us have been thinking about other regional dynamics and possibilities in American gothic. To that end, I’ve spend some time over spring break thinking about Ohio Gothic. Some potential texts for the next few weeks in this category are:
- Beloved, Toni Morrison (excerpt) – or the movie?
- Hillbilly Elegy, J.D. Vance (excerpt)
- “Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio,” James Wright
- from Winesburg, Ohio, Sherwood Anderson
- “Pills,” Donald Ray Pollock
- “Captioning Emily,” Celeste Ng
Putting this together, I notice that themes we tend to associate with the north-south divide, like race and racial injustice, history’s long shadow, the power of nature, and economic inequity, pervades Ohio gothic, too…