The latest issue of Blood Orange Review offers plenty of good writing, the nonfiction inviting readers to consider where they come from as the three writers do the same.
Melissa Matthewson answers the question of her essay’s title “Aren’t There Any Beautiful Things in Your Own Country?” with “Yes. No. Also, fewer.” A response to Susan Sontag’s “Unguided Tour,” Matthewson writes of the beauty living along the California/Mexico border, the beauty that continues to fade as time passes.
In “We Carry Smoke and Paper,” a desire to perform a Chinese red egg ceremony for her daughter’s one-month celebration leads Melody S. Gee to think about how she and her mother each fit into the label of “Chinese,” and how Gee particularly fits, raised in America for basically her entire life, daughter of a mother who single-handedly tries to keep her Chinese traditions alive. This is an insightful and revealing piece on cultural and familial identity.
Questioning familial identity is the backbone of “Crescent” by Rochelle Smith. The piece begins:“John Coltrane is my father. The jazz saxophonist, yes [ . . . ]. I’ve known this all my life. Or that’s not true, not all my life, really only since I first heard his music, which was in college.” Readers may have their doubts, but Smith backs up her claim with proof of how Kenneth, the man her mother marries, couldn’t possibly be her real father. “I’ll tell you two stories about Kenneth,” she says, letting the reader into her story, “and then you tell me.” But we find this is all wishful thinking, like the angsty teenage years where the flitting thought comes up: “maybe I am adopted—there’s no way I come from these people.”
Check out the nonfiction in the latest issue of Blood Orange Review and take some time to think about where you came from.
Review by Katy Haas