Whatcha Reading, Donna Miscolta?

Every week we ask an interesting figure what they're digging into. Have ideas who we should reach out to? Let it fly: info@seattlereviewofbooks.com. Want to read more? Check out the archives.

Donna Miscolta is a Seattle-based writer, most recently of the story collection Hola and Goodbye, and a frequent contributer to the Seattle Review of Books.

What are you reading now?

I’m reading Subversive Lives: A Family Memoir of the Marcos Years. Authorship is attributed to Susan F. Quimpo and Nathan Gilbert Quimpo who combined their separate accounts of life (and death) during the Marcos regime. However, the two siblings sent the merged manuscript to their other siblings who also ended up contributing to the text. They were ten siblings in all — bookish, physically slight teenagers or young adults who were involved in one way or another in the resistance, drastically changing their lives. Some were detained in camps, some eventually left the country, two were disappeared. Highly readable and thoroughly captivating.

What did you read last?

I read Pretend We Are Lovely, a novel by Noley Reid. It shows the unraveling of a family in the aftermath of unspeakable loss complicated by distorted relationships with food and unmet needs for emotional nourishment. The story is told from multiple points of view, often with quick cuts between characters that magnify their individual and shared crises. I read Reid’s story collection So There! a few years ago and loved the grace of her prose and how she brings us nose-to-nose with the flawed humanity of her characters.

What are you reading next?

Mayumi Tsutakawa gave me a copy of Jacob the Mutant by Mexican novelist Mario Bellatin, so I’m going to give it a try. Experimental fiction is a challenge for me. The book is a compact little thing, which makes it all the more scary. I fear the ambiguity, enigma, and cunning compressed in those pages that will slip right past my traditionalist mindset. But it has a fabulous cover, so I’m intrigued.