Blueberries (Ellena Savage, Text)
Ellena Savage’s debut collection of essays, Blueberries, is a breathtaking interrogation of the self in the world; the self within structures of power and oppression. Each essay examines a memory, a trauma or an idea: ‘Yellow City’, for instance, is a series of diary entries retracing the events of an ‘almost-rape’ that took place in Portugal 11 years prior; it is about the strange intersection of private memory and public record-keeping. Other essays reflect on race, gender, class, art, literature, love and sex. Savage is also not afraid to turn her critical eye inwards; to make and unmake herself in the process of writing. Innovative and playful with form, the essays are united by the author’s voices. Many voices that originate in Savage (the teenager, the twenty-something, thirty-something woman) make themselves heard on the page. Blueberries is polyphonic. Savage will, for instance, annotate writing from years earlier, interrupting the younger narrator with her present-day perspective. ‘Holidays with Men’ is divided into two columns with the original piece on the right and a critique of the text on the left. Blueberries is exciting and distinctive, and will appeal to readers of Maria Tumarkin, Melissa Broder and Chris Kraus, among others.
Charlotte Guest is a bookseller and PhD candidate in Geelong, Victoria