The Girl in the Road by Monica Byrne

Book Review

While admittedly — even undeniably — wicked clever and inventive, Monica Byrne’s dystopic novel lacks even a single shelf for a reader to store their emotions. While I understand that this is the condition and peculiarity of postmodernity, the constant shifts in perspective and the fungibility of characters for one another produce mostly a sense of pastiche and not critique (I’m assuming critique was part of authorial intention, if one might for a second be allowed to revive that moribund concept). With the dense semiotic of the elements of the novel being almost impossible to untangle, ultimately making it impossible to identify with anyone or anything, The Girl in the Road obviously a satisfying artifact of postmodernity but affectively draining and cognitively wearying for the reader. The world that Byrne has created is intensely brittle, manipulated, multidimensional and polymorphous, but less focus on the possibilities of pastiche and paranormality and a little more on the meaning and yield even of shifting positions and subjectivities in a compressed time-space would have made the novel more readable and enjoyable.


A paragraph for my father. . .

Dear reader, please allow me to share with you another bit from my novel Love’s Garden (forthcoming September 2020) that I think my father would have enjoyed. Here’s to you, Baba!

Photo by Maria Pop on

Sir Naren Mitter has made a fortune in military and food supplies during this Great War that’s going on. How much exactly, who can say. But those who claim to know say that in this war a sixth of the British forces are Indian men. Hapless fathers, husbands, sons and brothers from bleary villages. Of them, they say, at least thirty thousand have already died fighting, and another thirty thousand have returned home maimed, penniless and without a future. Thousands are missing. No one will look for them. Sir Naren supplies jute, cement, iron, steel, ammunition, garments and provisions to the British war effort in India. They say he makes a thousand rupees a day. That’s a lot of money. Like the fifty million British pounds that Indians have already paid in taxes to save civilization from the Hun. Even four-legged Indians are going to war for England. All hundred thousand of those patriotic cattle need provisions, so grain and supplies have had to be diverted to them from starving villagers by enterprising men, brave lords, like Sir Naren.

Scenes From San Juan as Frustration Boils Over – Bloomberg

Puerto Rico’s governor is clinging to his seat as citizens take to the streets and opposition lawmakers call for his resignation.
— Read on

This is what you do to scoundrels in office, America.

Politics is the last resort of scoundrels. George Bernard Shaw.