Amazon Monster. For many, the word summons memories of childhood fears: the creature panting under the bed, the bogeyman lurking behind the closet door. Others may recall the B-movie staples, the mummy in the swamp and the giant reptile stamping high-rises. Our more contemporary monsters are the reviled subjects of newspaper headlines: war criminals, serial killers, pedophiles. Deviations from expected behaviour or form, Goto suggests, are dismissed by the collective as monstrosities.
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Multimedia Hopeful Monsters The unbearable voices of mythic manatees, the cry of the phoenix, the whispers of kappa lovers beside a gurgling stream.
The voice of the moon that is ever turned away from our gaze, the song of suns colliding. The sounds which permeate from my skin on such a level of intensity that mortal senses recoil, deflect beauty into ugliness as a way of coping. And my joy. Such incredible joy. I hover, twenty feet in the air. The title of Hopeful Monsters refers to genetically abnormal organisms that naturally adapt to their environments.
But their wills are a force of nature unto themselves, and their struggles for selfhood are imbued with the light of myth and magic-realism.
In these tales of domestic crises and cultural dissonance, Goto makes the familiar seem strange, and deciphers those moments when the idyllic skews into the absurd, the sublime, even the horrific. Reviews These are stories that, without resorting to too much supernatural trickery, truly deliver both a disturbing frisson and a psychological punch. Hopeful Monsters carries the genetic material of recognizable genres—coming-of-age story, immigrant narrative, feminist text—but it defies categorization.
Yet often a metaphor will bloom into something sublimely sensual. Goto knows how to take her characters into hard places. Hopeful Monsters is like the baby with the tail: weird and marvellous at the same time. One blank and another who has every […] About: Hiromi Goto is a queer Japanese Canadian writer, editor, and facilitator of creative writing workshops.
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Hopeful Monsters by Hiromi Goto
In these devastating stories, the hopeful monsters in question are those who will not be tethered by familial duty nor bound by the ghosts of their past. Home becomes fraught, reality a nightmare as Hiromi Goto weaves her characters through tales of domestic crises and cultural dissonance. They are the walking wounded--a mother who is terrified by a newborn daughter who bears a tail; a "stinky girl" who studies the human condition in a shopping mall; a family on holiday wih a visiting grandfather who cannot abide their "foreign" nature. With humor and keen insight, Goto makes the familiar seem strange, and deciphers those moments when the idyllic skews into the absurd and the sublime. From "Stinky Girl" The unbearable voices of mythic manatees, the cry of the phoenix, the whispers of kappa lovers beside a gurgling stream. The voice of the moon that is ever turned away from our gaze, the song of suns colliding. The sounds which permeate from my skin on such a level of intensity that mortal senses recoil, deflect beauty into ugliness as a way of coping.
The stories, ranging from rather mundane tales of picking relatives up at the airport to those featuring cat demons and kappa, are interesting and weird in a good way. While existing only in the "real" world, the stories take elements of the fantastic, from children born with tails to obese women floating. Probably the biggest obstacle for me getting into the stories, though, was my own lack of experience with either Canadian culture or Japanese culture, both of which are rather central to the story. That said, I feel like I understand both cultures a little better now, which is always a good thing when looking at how successful a collection is.