Jodi Monster is an aspiring novelist and founding member of Our Writers’ Circle, a thriving and diverse community of emerging authors. She lived and raised children in The Netherlands, Texas, and Singapore before returning to suburban Philadelphia, where she currently lives.

 

 

 

 


BASIC BLACK WITH PEARLS, a novel by Helen Weinzweig, reviewed by Jodi Monster

BASIC BLACK WITH PEARLS, a novel by Helen Weinzweig, reviewed by Jodi Monster
BASIC BLACK WITH PEARLS by Helen Weinzweig with an afterword by Sarah Weinman NYRB, 146 pages reviewed by Jodi Monster Lola Montez, the protagonist of Basic Black with Pearls by Helen Weinzweig, is a woman gripped by an obsessive, consuming passion for her married lover, Coenraad. To hear Lola tell it, this mysterious man, who works for an unspecified outfit referred to only as “The Agency,” directs her to their assignations by means of a secret code he embeds into the text of National Geographic magazine articles. The novel opens with Lola in Tikal, scanning crowds of tourists for Coenraad, who always arrives in disguise. He fails to appear, however, and instead, Lola receives a phone call instructing her to meet him in Toronto. She protests: “I can’t go back there… [It’s] where I live.” But eventually she complies, setting in motion a long weekend of waiting that also becomes a hallucinogenic voyage into the deepest recesses of her heart and mind. First published in 1980 and considered a feminist landmark, Basic Black with Pearls charts the course of the dream-state weekend that ostensibly marks Lola’s return to Toronto. Right at the start of this weekend, casually, in passing, it’s ...
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ADUA, a novel by Igiaba Scego, reviewed by Jodi Monster

ADUA, a novel by Igiaba Scego, reviewed by Jodi Monster
ADUA by Igiaba Scego translated from the Italian by Jamie Richards New Vessel Press, 171 pages reviewed by Jodi Monster The title character of Igiaba Scego’s novel Adua is a Somali woman caught in history’s crosshairs. Born to an ambitious, mercurial man, a translator who sold his skills to the Italians during Mussolini’s pre-WWII push to expand his African empire, Adua's life is shaped by choices she didn’t make and subject to forces she can’t control. Scego, an accomplished writer and journalist who reports regularly on post-colonial migrant experiences, wants to shine a bright light on these forces. Born in Italy to Somali parents, her father having been ousted from his government post by Siad Barre’s 1969 coup, Scego has more than an academic interest in the relationship between these two countries, and in the aftereffects of Italy’s imperial violence in East Africa. Born in Italy to Somali parents, her father having been ousted from his government post by Siad Barre’s 1969 coup, Scego has more than an academic interest in the relationship between these two countries, and in the aftereffects of Italy’s imperial violence in East Africa. In the atmospheric novel she’s crafted, the circumstances of Adua’s early life ...
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