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Brit Mandelo continues her re-read of the works of Joanna Russ with a two part examination of her 1984 collection Extra(ordinary) People:

Discussions of performativity often run the risk of sounding dismissive of the gender/sexuality paradigms that are being discussed as performances, if the discussion isn’t careful to qualify that just because they’re performed and not innate doesn’t make them any less real or valuable. “Everyday Depressions” is that clarification about the value of living, if you have the time to do it, and of self in the world at large. It’s also about stories, and the way that stories structure our ideas of identity and performance—which is, really, sort of what Extra(ordinary) People is all about as a whole. It’s a subtle book in many ways, but a profound one in all; as with complex novels like The Two of Them, talking about it can become a confusing mire of analysis and adoration without a clear way to tie things off and escape..

Out of print, of course. Fingers crossed for that Collected Stories. See also Teresa Nielsen Hayden's comment on the genesis and meaning of “What Did You Do During the Revolution, Grandma?”

Niall Harrison is a reader and fan.
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