Aspic by Tatyana Tolstaya, 2016
The magic trick:
Using a new year’s cooking tradition as a metaphor for life, death and the burying of the past
Happy New Year!
We start the new year with a story about new year dining. Or is it?
This one reminds me a lot of Jamaica Kincaid in its emphasis on the lyrical and symbolic over plot, not to mention the use of second-person narration. I have to be honest, I’m not sure I grasp all of the metaphor that is happening here. I do very much like the feeling I got about two paragraphs in when I connected the dots enough to say, ‘Wow, yeah, every new year is really just a chance to bury ghosts and do our best to forget.’ Intense but interesting. And that’s quite a trick on Tolstaya’s part.
None of them are really dead: that’s the conundrum. There is no death. They are hacked apart, mutilated; they won’t be walking anywhere, or even crawling; they’ve been killed but they are not dead. They know that you’ve come for them.
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after this incredibly traumatic year, that story hits a little differently. like, it hits with a sigh followed by an OOF. not that everything’s about to change just because we rolled into a new calendar year, but it’s a little hopeful knowing that we’ve all been trying to silence the clacking hooves and stifle the sobbing, together. out with the old! thanks, Ben. happy new year!
Tori! Yes, and now suddenly Jan. 1 seems like the good ol’ days. Craziness. Hope you’re doing well!
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