This debut short story collection by Anjali Sachdeva launched earlier in the week. It blurs the line between literary and speculative fiction, which makes it a must-read for fans of both genres, I think. My review is up at PopMatters. "In her striking debut short story collection, All the Names They Used for God, Anjali Sachdeva's characters also reach for various kinds of redemption—inexplicable, undefined, mystical, even sublime. That reach propels them into curious liminal spaces that are not exactly darkly terrifying or horrific, as one might expect, but rather enchanting and mesmerizing."
This week, Ursula K. Le Guin, the renowned science fiction writer who died in January, was awarded the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay for No Time to Spare, a collection of ruminations on aging and the universe. I wrote an essay to explore this collection and more of her legacy over at The National Book Review.
Let’s first define “narrative voice” because people do mean different things when they use this term. And, often, people try to make a distinction between “style” and “voice.” The general acceptance is that voice is about a point of view, attitude, personality, character, tone, diction, dialect, accent, etc., while style is about syntax, grammar, sentence/paragraph structures, cadences, rhythms, genre, etc. To put it simply, voice is about speech and thought patterns, and style is about how that voice is laid out on the page. My three favorite books on this topic of voice+style are not "how-tos" in the traditional sense. Yagoda's book has interviews with 40-some writers on their approaches; Davidson's book takes excerpts from other works and looks at the sentence-level aesthetics; and Queneau's book takes a simple scene and shows us how to write it in at least 99 different ways.