the [ ] review

a satirical recontextualization of nam le's short story, "love and honor and pity and compassion and sacrifice" within a mock literary magazine. 

taken from the last page: 

In his short story "love and honor and pity and compassion and sacrifice", Nam Le addresses the forced assimilation of writers of color into the predominantly white literary world through the lens of cultural exploitation. In particular: how does a person of color write about their life experiences without being seen as the sole representative of their race? And what responsibility, if any, do they have to make their histories and cultures accessible to and consumable by the white literary mainstream? 

In addressing these questions, I have created a literary magazine identity that intentionally mimics and subverts the dynamics and exploitation present in similar journals.The names on the editorial board are a mix of random samples from an online white pen-name generator, and real editors of magazines such as the Mississippi Review and McSweeneys. The volume number, 47, is the number of years since the My Lai Massacre (1968), while the ISBN barcode on the cover references a book on the massacre written by an Asian American. The names of the pieces on the cover (other than those titled “Ethnic Story”, of course) are taken from actual literary anthologies. 

The long list of names on the opposite page, while set in a satirical context, are names of real writers of color—most of which have probably had to navigate the world referenced by The Vietnam Review. It serves as a hopeful endnote; that while we may have our experiences and writing dismissed, trivialized and questioned (despite of its supposed “authenticity”), we can find community, support, and solace in each other.  

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