Brittany Ackerman, Siel Ju, & Nicelle Davis discuss and sign Perpetual Motion Machine, Cake Time, & The Walled Wife
Inspired by a brother's high school science project--a perpetual motion machine that could save the world-- The Perpetual Motion Machine is a memoir in essays that attempts to save a sibling by depicting the visceral pain that accompanies longing for some past impossibility. The collection has been a science project in its study of memory, in the calculation and plotting of the moments that make up a childhood. The preparation has been "in the field" in that it is built upon the gathering of lived experience; the evidence is photo albums, family interviews, and anecdotes from friends. The project has been one giant experiment--to see if they can all make it out alive.
Daring yet aimless, smart but slightly strange, Cake Time's young female protagonist keeps making slippery choices, sliding into the dangerous space where curiosity melds with fear and desires turn into dirty messes. In “How Not to Have an Abortion,” the teenaged narrator looks for a ride from the clinic between her AP exams. In “Easy Target,“ the now-college-grad agrees to go to a swingers party with a handsome stranger. A decade later, in “Glow,” she is suddenly confronted by the disturbing and thrilling fact of her lover's secret daughter. Ultimately, this unflinching novel-in-stories grapples with urgent, timeless questions: why intelligent girls make terrible choices, where to negotiate a private self in an increasingly public world, and how to love madly without losing a sense of self.
Nicelle Davis’s The Walled Wife unearths from the long-standing text The Ballad of the Walled-up Wife, a host of issues that continue to plague women in the contemporary world: the woman s body as sacrifice; the woman s body as tender or currency; the woman s body as disposable; the woman s body as property; the woman s body as aesthetic object; the woman s body unsafe in the world she must inhabit, and in the hands of the people she loves."