Medicine, Myth, Fairytale: On Joanna Pearson’s Every Human Love

Lauren A. Mitchell //      On the phone, Dr. Joanna Pearson softly chuckles. “My brother sometimes asks me what ‘psychiatrist Joanna’ would ask ‘author Joanna.’” It has been a while since we’ve spoken, but she is warm and upbeat, as I have known her to be. We are discussing her new short story collection, Every Human…

Demonizing Mothers: Psychodramas, Horror Movies, and Hermeneutics of Suspicion

Lauren A. Mitchell//  Fair warning: this post contains some spoilers for Ari Aster’s Hereditary, but you should read it anyway.  Early in Ari Aster’s 2018 Hereditary, family matriarch and film anti-heroine Annie Leigh attends a grief support meeting after the death of her mother. We learn that Annie and her mother, Ellen, had at best a conflicted…

Ted Chiang’s “Exhalation”: Uncanny Neuroscience and the Radical Self-Exam

Lauren Mitchell //   Ted Chiang’s short story “Exhalation,” which you can read online here, evokes pleasure alongside mourning. Written from the perspective of a nameless anatomist in a mechanized future, Chiang re-casts the body as an “extraordinary machine,” where air, flesh and blood is replaced by argon, metal and gold.