The Sewanee Conglomerate
Named for the uppermost rock formation in Sewanee's corner of the Cumberland Plateau, the Sewanee Conglomerate is the magazine's blog. Check here for short pieces about books and current events written by SR staff and guest contributors.
The more I write, the more I realize that my preoccupations don’t really go away.
Now that August has come and gone, we've put together a reading list for those last few dog days of summer.
The moment captured in this paragraph is not simply a disagreement, but a crossroads wherein the two sisters decide what kind of people they will be to each other.
Disappointment is a dissatisfaction with the present that has us blame the past, but I increasingly believe in the potential for future joy.
Both women have developed the slightly terrifying habit of projecting their own lacks—from childhood, from their current lives—onto their own children and the children of others. This dynamic, of the child as a white wall onto which an adult might project fantasies and grievances, is, in my opinion, very common in life, if unconscious.
The relationships Shipstead forges for her characters are always tangled; in each, she notes the gravitational pull two people can have for each other as well as every other force—secrecy, trauma, guilt—that complicates it.
For the Binewskis, freakishness is valued above all else. The children are ranked, blatantly, by their oddities—the more repugnant they are to larger society, the better.