TITLE: A Child Is Being Killed
AUTHOR: Carolyn Zaikowski
PUBLISHER: Aqueous Books
PAGES: 162 pp.
BINDING: Perfect/ trade paperback
EDITION: 1st print
RELEASE DATE: June 30, 2013
A teenage girl named Shrap is sold into sex slavery by her father in exchange for a business. What follows is a story that is determined to tell itself, and a girl whose body and mind are struggling to become real through this broken telling. A Child Is Being Killed is a vessel that holds the problem posed by philosopher Maurice Blanchot: What does it mean to utter, “A child is being killed”? What is the nature and shape of this kind of non-presence? Is it even possible to speak of? At once dissociated and lucid, Shrap’s story stubbornly creates an existence out of Shrap, drawing a complicated portrait of her mind and body amidst a world of men who actively erase her.
Carolyn Zaikowski lives in Northampton, Massachusetts. Her fiction and poetry, as well as her critical work on veganism, feminism, trauma, and language, have been published widely. She has worked variously as a social worker, crisis counselor, and community organizer, and has taught English and democracy studies in India’s red light districts, as well as to Burmese political exiles in Thailand. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Naropa University’s Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics. Carolyn can be found at liferoar.wordpress.com
“She hears her mother’s voice, but it is caught between two echos and a jail.” Wow. No blurb I would write could capture the expansive pulpy difficulty of this saint of a little book. Disassociated, far-flung, atomized. . . how do you dub the streaming pileup of someone lost, unborn, already dead. Porny anime? A hot mess? Female? Carolyn Zaikowski’s A Child is Being Killed, this tiny novel, is a messenger not of “truth” but beautiful wrath.
—Eileen Myles, author of Inferno, The Importance of Being Iceland, and others
In her devastating and courageous new novel, A Child is Being Killed, Carolyn Zaikowski renders bodies in extreme states of distress, but also falling [ruptured] into a radical newness. Language, in this complex work, has the capacity to both “constantly redistribute itself”—and at the same time, to be a cry—to the reader, to the child, to the mother, to the beloved always (profoundly) out of reach: to: “Come here/Come here/Come here/Come here.” Political and poetic, this is a work of prose that’s both “undone” and “unspeakable.” In this sense, the novel comes to us through gestures of narrative and sound that, at times, intersect—making a third space. “The opposite of space is love,” writes Zaikowski, reminding us that: “It is okay to not understand. It is okay to look.” And so, reading her words, we look. Because this is a writer who does not look away.
—Bhanu Kapil, author of The Vertical Interrogation of Strangers (Kelsey Street Press), Incubation: a space for monsters (Leon Works), and others
Carolyn Zaikowski’s compassion, intelligence, and necessary anger positively radiate up from the pages of this book. The world is a better place for having her and her fierce, fragmented, tender writing in it.
—Danielle Dutton, author of S P R A W L