Erin Hoover. Elixir, $17 trade paper (88p) ISBN 978-1-932418-67-5
Hoover exhumes the skeletons buried neatly behind the white picket fences of modern America in a debut that’s rife with outspoken disillusionment. Through a series of confessional narratives, Hoover addresses the quiet violence that suffuses many of today’s environmental, cultural, and gender issues, among others. Employing a straightforward and vehemently snarky style, she elucidates the many ways in which people can be both victims (“It’s what a girl’s days/ are made of: What body part, this time?”) and unwitting, or oblivious, perpetrators (“Don’t say you know yourself/ unless you’ve stepped outside of it,/ seen the shadow you cast/ in your own bronze light”). Employing an empathy scarcely allotted to addicts, Hoover obliquely but incisively illuminates what it means to be one when she writes, “junkies are the only people/ worth talking to about love, because junkies/ are the only ones who ever felt it.” In her most vivid insight, she describes mental well-being’s dependence on acts of understanding: “Rarely did I ask anyone// to perform the dangerous/ feat of stepping into/ another mind, carefully,/ as in an unlit house/ with strange furniture. Such visitors/ quiet the animal mind, leaving/ only the human one.” Hoover’s candid portrait of normalized cruelty is likely to get readers to question their own malignant perceptions and passivity in the face of injustice. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/17/2018
Release date: 10/01/2018
Genre: Fiction
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