H & G
Novella by Anna Maria Hong
“I shoved her into that oven because I instinctively knew that it would be the end to something that I had already felt working its way around me like a fog or a cloud of smoke, a pattern, in the old parlance. I killed her because I didn’t want to hear another heroic or awful story from those vehement lips, another woe—rational or ludicrous—from this person who could not break the habit of malice in spite of her extraordinary powers.”
In this hybrid novella of trauma and survival, Anna Maria Hong re-imagines and extends the tale of Hansel and Gretel, breaking its received patterns of abandonment and abuse to set G. to wander a world racialized and gendered by power dynamics at every turn. Survivor, artist, hero, G.’s decisive action at the Witch’s oven becomes the kernel of a new identity, independent and resilient, capable of transforming cruel stories into a cunning, masterful feminist bildungsroman.
“In H & G, Anna Maria Hong brilliantly re-visions the ‘Hansel and Gretel’ fairytale for the post-post-modern 21st century. Or explodes it, producing a text brimming with biting wit, feminist insight, psychological incisiveness, and a hybrid narrative daring that turns genre on its head. G., a ‘Korean American fraülein’ who is ‘sick of the high road’ is willing to tear the whole fantasy edifice of our illusions down as she journeys toward deeper truths, and thankfully, she and H. take us along for their sometimes-frightening, always enlightening rides.” —John Keene, author of Counternarratives
“H & G is more than a fractured fairy tale for the Doom Generation. It’s a mordantly funny dismantling of loss and abandonment, a game of Chutes & Ladders played by Angela Carter and the Woolf of Orlando, a spider that waits for its victim to stop struggling before moving in. It suggests that the great escape is just the prelude to an unhappily ever after in which old traumas collapse under the weight of new discoveries. It is a brilliant, bracing book.” —Josh Emmons, author of A Moral Tale and Other Moral Tales and The Loss of Leon Meed
“This prose, built closely beside one of the most primeval European tales, is full of delectably strong phrasal nuggets and more. Anna Maria Hong unfastens and opens the original narrative, filling in all the icy distress that we already know, then adds the allure of burning sugar.”—Stacey Levine, author of The Girl With Brown Fur and Frances Johnson
Cover art by Hong Seon Jang (tape on chalkboard)
“Anna Maria Hong’s H & G takes a different approach as it brilliantly tells and retells the Hansel and Gretel tale, in prose and verse. Unlike Coover’s postmodern fairy tales, however, H & G does not ultimately reenact cycles of disillusionment and forced reenchantment. Taking its inspiration from the trajectory of the story’s original heroes, it models an escape from enchantment into a more fully human realm.” —David Greenberg, Iowa Review
Excerpts of H & G previously appeared in The Iowa Review, Pamplemousse, Bone Bouquet, Fence, Green Mountains Review, JuxtaProse, Supplement, Tarpaulin Sky Magazine.
Anna Maria Hong’s first poetry collection, Age of Glass, won the Cleveland State University Poetry Center’s 2017 First Book Poetry Competition and will be published in early 2018. Her second poetry collection, Fablesque, won Tupelo Press’s Berkshire Prize and is forthcoming in 2019. A former Bunting Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, she has published fiction and poetry in over 50 journals and anthologies including The Nation, The Iowa Review, Poetry, Ecotone, Mandorla, Green Mountains Review, Bennington Review, Conduit, Fence, Harvard Review, Southwest Review, The Volta, and The Best American Poetry. She will join the Literature faculty at Bennington College in July 2018.