Friday, January 25, 2013

The Next Big Thing, continued

This week, I'm passing "The Next Big Thing" torch to Kirsten Kaschock, whose book Sleight is one of my favorite novels published in the last few years. The world Kaschock creates here is our own touched with a surrealistic feathering. Inhabiting this landscape are Lark and Clef, two sisters who dance in a Sleight troupe, an invented art form in which dancers create intricate architectures and sometimes disappear, or "wick," from the stage. When the sisters are confronted with the news of the mass murder of children, they are left to navigate the turbid question, what is the proper artistic response to horror? Would creating a dance that responds to this atrocity be exploitative, or cathartic, or something else, something wholly unimagined?

Kaschock has published two collections of poetry in addition to this thoroughly gripping novel, and her language sings in every line. She is the rare writer whose mastery of stunningly gorgeous word choice, rhythm, and syntax does not soften the harshness of the ideas she explores. She doesn't flinch from difficult questions, but instead finds the images and narrative that allow us to question with her. I'd love to put a copy of this book in every reader's hands.

For more on Kirsten, her work, and her "The Next Big Thing" interview, check in at

Find her books here:
A Beautiful Name for a Girl