Lauren Oyler

Lauren Oyler’s first novel, Fake Accounts, was published in February.

The title​ is distinctly weird, resolutely of our time, but not something anyone would actually say. Detransition, Baby: disparate registers ironically combined, in a standard format, to make a little pun. The word ‘detransition’ is specific; it’s not a word whose general definition gets an extra tweak of meaning in context, like ‘pass’. You can’t...

Short Cuts: Internet Speak

Lauren Oyler, 7 May 2020

Every day​ I write to friends, acquaintances, colleagues and strangers using most or all the following media: Gmail, Google Hangouts, Twitter, Instagram, iMessage and WhatsApp. A message sent through Facebook still occasionally pops up; I could also communicate via Spotify, the music streaming service; Venmo, a money-sending app; Yelp, where I looked for restaurant recommendations pre...

Ha ha! Ha ha! Jia Tolentino

Lauren Oyler, 23 January 2020

‘Feminism​ is suddenly conventional wisdom in many spheres,’ Jia Tolentino writes in ‘The Cult of the Difficult Woman’, an essay in her debut collection, Trick Mirror. Ignoring the inaccurate ‘suddenly’, the sentiment is correct. It suggests, contra hashtag, that not all women, in all scenarios, need to be extra vigilant for misogynist...

In​ ‘Abortion, a Love Story’, the long story at the centre of Nicole Flattery’s first collection, a young woman, Natasha, tells the professor on whom she’s about to force a perfunctory affair that she has a disorder. ‘I can’t explain exactly what my disorder is,’ she says, ‘but it prevents me from absorbing any knowledge into my brain.’...

The New Grunge

Lauren Oyler, 23 May 2019

In the late​ 1990s a white teenager called John Walker Lindh converted to Islam and began worshipping at the Islamic Centre of Mill Valley in Marin County, California. Brought up as a Catholic, he studied many world religions but was attracted to Islam after seeing Spike Lee’s Malcolm X. He soon found himself out of place in his American suburb – according to a family friend, he...

Pressure to Please: Is Sex Interesting?

Lauren Oyler, 7 February 2019

Obviously, sex doesn’t happen in a vacuum (that might be interesting); it’s often a way to discuss gender and power. That point, too, is a little tired, worn out from overuse, but it persists as justification for writing about sex, and as a marketing tool for writing about sex, particularly post #MeToo. Kristen Roupenian’s debut short story collection, You Know You Want This, attempts to jump on this bandwagon and at the same time tip it over. She ends up driving it in a circle.

Murderous Thoughts: ‘Women Talking’

Lauren Oyler, 22 November 2018

‘Why would​ they need counselling if they weren’t even awake when it happened?’ asked Bishop Johan Neurdorf, the leader of the Manitoba Colony, a remote Mennonite community in Bolivia. He was referring to the 130 women and girls in the colony who had been sedated with bovine anaesthetic and raped in their beds by a group of eight men. The women would wake up disoriented,...

In​ chronological order, starting with her debut, Sleepwalking, which she wrote as a student at Brown and published in 1982 when she was 23, the page counts of Meg Wolitzer’s novels are: 272, 294, 352, 213, 224, 219, 307, 383, 304, 560, 464. A couple of young adult novels, published in 2011 and 2014, hit 304 and 272 respectively. Does this matter? To Wolitzer, yes. ‘I sometimes...

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