Alexander Chee Archive

The Joys of a Journal

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Last April, I attended Alexander Chee’s talk on reporting the self. He said: “The thing that you remember is the thing that you live with.” I’d never heard this truth stated so clearly before. What else but memory could be at the root of so many personal conflicts and

Power and Powerlessness in Alexander Chee’s Essay “The Querent”

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Raw from the loss of his father, Chee says he got into Tarot because he “never wanted to be surprised by misfortune again.” In Tarot cards he found a tool that could enable him to take power over a life that had rendered him utterly powerless.

We Were Strike and Instrument Both: Music and Queerness in Edinburgh

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In Alexander Chee's debut novel, Edinburgh, Chee utilizes song as a discovery space for the body, giving insight into how the main character, Fee, understands his sexuality.

This is Normal: Reading Evil in the Everyday

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On Twitter, people keep saying this “isn’t normal.” In this story, the villain is an exception to the rule of normalcy. Maybe, I thought, that story is easier to tell than the real one.

The Queen of the Night and Alejo Carpentier’s French Accent

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In the first chapter of Alexander Chee’s long-awaited new novel The Queen of the Night, the opera-singer protagonist surprises party-goers at a Paris ball by bursting into an aria from Gounod’s Faust. The scene has a scandalous, erotic backstory (too complicated to recount here, but it involves two brothers

Round-Down: On Women Writers And the Fallout from ‘Confession’ in the Digital Age

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Social media is in the spotlight—or crosshairs, as it may be–in the literary landscape this week. Several articles and author interviews have touched upon both the benefits and the tremendous costs known to an author maintaining their online presence, none of them coming to a firm conclusion about whether it’s better to be

Round-Down: Catapult Launches Onto the Literary Scene

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Elizabeth Koch recently conceived of a promising new literary venture, Catapult, that launched yesterday. Jennifer Kovitz, the publisher’s publicity and marketing director, said that “Catapult is dedicated to spotlighting extraordinary narratives (as fiction, nonfiction, memoir, and graphic/illustrated projects) and we intend for Catapult to be an inclusive community for writers at

Dancing About Architecture

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“Writing about music is like dancing about architecture,” said Elvis Costello once, probably quoting someone else. And yet, and yet… It is apparently a strong urge to write about (or somehow with) music. The list of creative writing that involves music in some way is long, and grows longer every