Carnal Mythology by Yelena Moskovich
19th January 2016
There are people who leave their bodies and their bodies go on living without them. These people are named Natasha.
Here are some other Natashas I have gotten to know, part of a diaspora of voices for whom language is sometimes damage, and damage an aphrodisiac. Where eroticism is called home, and comes home, claiming its own welcome.
From the bone-chilling romance of Russian Ludmilla Petrushevskaya, to the rubix-cube stories of self-consciousness of Spanish Ana Maria Moix in Dangerous Virtues, the poetry “in the quiet vacant dark” of Persian Forugh Farrokhzad, to the provocation to dance from Jamaican Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze: “inside this womb / is the song of songs / the story of all stories / can you move that?”
The masterfully subversive Japanese German-writing Yoko Tawada’s The Naked Eye, following a Vietnamese student smuggled through the Iron Curtain, eventually to Paris where she takes refuge in cinema and her obsession with Catherine Deneuve.
The daring essays on healing our perspectives on love, gender, and sex by the African-American writer and social activist Bell Hooks.
And the Hungarian András Pályi, who transforms the political occupation of territory into carnal mythology, in his two novella collection, Out of Onself. In the second novella, Ildi Schön a young actress in1980s Communist Budapest seeks to reclaim her flesh:
…at the very spot when Gergö almost stabbed Rudi to death, I’m telling you we were sitting here and I was saying to them, kids, do whatever you want to me…but they wouldn’t believe me, so I started to strip, yea, right there, no sweat at all…