by Miyako Pleines in Ploughshares at Emerson College
Claire-Louise Bennett’s new novel stirs up all the women in literature who have been sealing their anger away, letting it churn undisturbed at the center of themselves.
A woman’s body is an ocean. We know this. Women have been compared to the sea since the beginning of time. The ocean can seem mysterious just like a woman. It can evoke calm in the same way a woman is meant to provide comfort to those around her. Its body is wet like a woman’s, and from this wet body came an entire world, the ocean as mother. But the thing about the ocean is that within all its shades of blue, some so dark they are almost black, there is power. The ocean can kill you at any moment. It does not care. For all the times the ocean looks serene on its surface, maybe even sincere, there is really a violent rage roiling just underneath, ready to drag you down and drown you, your body quickly turning to pulp in the brine. If the ocean is a violent, unrelenting body, then women must also possess their own ferociousness, even if it, too, must remain floating just below our surfaces. FOR MORE