My Writer-in-Residency continues to surprise me – who knew I’d actually complete this sprawling, messy essay on The Panopticon by Jenni Fagan and How The Light Gets In by M.J. Hyland? And on a Monday too. Which is why I’m giving this a wee post of its own. Do read the two novels if you have not – I’m not generally in favour of choosing novels based on character alone, but Anais Hendricks and Lou Conner are like bright red lightening, so. Here’s a taster of my essay:
There’s something therefore about the energy of a good book about a smart bad girl. Something sharp and high pitched in it, that unsettles, rips the cover out from under the cutlery – and as fiction, capable of multifarious realities, endless return and all possibilities, leaves the plates suspended between disarray and quivering stillness for the duration of reading. Because if a bad girl seems to be urges, seems to be a force – what then of a bad girl who appears to have the intelligence to choose to be this way. What about a bad girl stabilised for the moment in print. And specifically here, bad girl lit that focuses on the girl herself, her inner life, that seeks not to moralise but purely, impurely tell.