The precise and evocative language of both novels is what lets us enter into these women’s minds, their neuroses, and their history. The details of the world in which Iris finds such solace and her story-like dreams are the most telling things about her. For Anya, it is her bodily reaction to the smells around her that holds the answer to what she truly wants and needs; how she feels about the smell of yeast, a man’s sweat on her sheets, homemade chicken soup.
These women, like many of us right now, are at a moment in their lives when their sense of reality is lost, and though they deal with this in vastly different ways, Iris and Anya look for renewal in the wind, in fire, in escape, in fleeting illusions. Where they look, ultimately, isn’t what matters, and is not the source of urgency that keeps us reading. What matters is the relentlessness with which they search for renewal at all. And their search, for now, will be my new definition of feminism.
— From a fantastic essay by Sara Finnerty on Karolina Waclawiak’s How To Get Into the Twin Palms and Anne-Marie Kinney’s Radio Iris, over at HTML Giant.