Ashleigh Young’s Essays Praised in New Yorker

Wellington writer Ashleigh Young’s debut essay collection Can You Tolerate This? is New Yorker-recommended summer reading.

“Two things happened the first week I moved to New York, in February. I met up with a friend who gave me a copy of Can You Tolerate This?,” Katy Waldman writes for the magazine.

“Then my apartment flooded. The book got wet but not ruined. After my roommate and I cleaned the space, using every towel we owned, and he was barefoot, mopping up the last of the wet, and I was throwing my shoes in the dryer, my gaze fell on the title, which I took personally.

“‘Can you tolerate this?’ is a question chiropractors ask to determine their patients’ pain thresholds. Young, who received Yale’s Windham-Campbell Prize for nonfiction, in 2017, writes cool, ambivalent pieces about human limits and the monstrousness and beauty to be found both within and beyond them. (‘There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion,’ she observes, quoting Francis Bacon.)

“These are thoughtful, searching pieces, both open to the world and temperamentally uneasy. They handle their subjects with generosity and a restlessness that seeps in like floodwater.”

Young, who was born in Te Kuiti, is an editor at Victoria University Press and teaches creative writing at the International Institute of Modern Letters.

Original article by Katy Waldman, The New Yorker, June 20, 2018.


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