Faithless by Mink Choi: reviewed by Brian McElmurry
This novella regards Grace, and her former lover, an addict and possibly abusive male, and her new lover, a woman with beautiful bone structure. The first person narrative goes from the past to the future and back again. The narrative doesn’t give complete context to each situation, but the action gives a clear idea or emotion what is happening. The story is intense and compelling with descriptions that move and inform. The idea of submission and dominance is played with as Grace’s male lover is dominant with her and Grace is the dominant in her female relationship; the text taking an almost Dennis Cooper-like element where Grace tries to cut 2 inches into her female lovers hip to see her hip bone, or when she carves her name into her flesh. Later in the text a childhood memory of her father forceably cutting her mother’s hair and ranting about her mother not being a virgin when they married is shown. There is an element of ambivalence and anger to the narrator’s voice, which is addressed at the poem at the end regarding god and faith. That being faithless and empty are the reality of the narrator though not an easy one, but that this self-destruction has a climax, which is maybe where the narrator feels most alive and transcends the pain and confusion of the world. The novella—form-wise—deconstructs and decomposes, building with non-linear fragments before ending with a poem, more fragmented than the narrative, more a meditation, the story trickling away, like it never was.