Monique Truong on her selection:
On March 5, 2020, mere days before COVID-19 would change our day-to-day existence, I attended a crowded bookstore reading here in NYC, where Yoko Tawada and her friend Bettina Brandt read from Tawada's novel, Memoirs of a Polar Bear. They sat side-by-side, each wearing one white glove, and occasionally they held over their respective faces a hand-drawn polar bear mask, made for the occasion by Tawada. I couldn’t make up such delights. Here’s the photographic proof. Now, when I revisit the off-kilter originality of Tawada’s novel, featuring not one but three polar bear narrators, it brings me right back to that reading, which seems to belong to another lifetime or to a parallel reality, which is apropos as the novel itself so deftly evokes the warp and weft of another way of existing, achingly familiar yet different and strange.
Memoirs of a Polar Bear by Yoko Tawada
Intro and outro from "Shift of Currents" by Blue Dot Sessions // CC BY-NC 2.0
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