Trisha Low is a poet and performer. She is the author of two books—The Compleat Purge (Kenning Editions, 2013) and Socialist Realism (Emily Books, 2019). She lives in the East Bay of California.Artist Bio
Diane and En spend all their time in each others’ bedrooms. As such, the time and place of this novel—a rendering of their codependent relationship—is more irrelevant than it is undefinable. Nevertheless, the world crumbles slowly, as it always has, around them. Named after the Chinese character for gratitude and brought to the US as a baby, En lives an existence that is an immigrant cliché. Named after Princess Diana and born to parents enamored with whiteness, Diane is a second-generation cautionary tale. Neither of them feel these biographical features are especially relevant to their lives. Of course, they’re both wrong, because, as Pamela Lu once wrote, it would be far too convenient if “our identities actually had something to do with us being there to have them.” En’s compulsion toward escapism is all-consuming, manifesting in obsessions with martial arts C-dramas and K-pop fan fiction. Diane is relentlessly pragmatic and throws herself into mutual-aid organizing, the archive of 1970s student movements. Endings of all kinds plague them both: the overblown romance in En’s beloved melodramas; the collective climax Diane seeks from the riot; human extinction as the world runs out of fuel; the predictive arc of family history. FATED has no plot so much as it strings together these endings—from the romantic to the generic to the fantastic to the political—as a means of altering textures of reality. Can Diane and En eschew the expected conclusions that inform the daily substance of their lives? Or is their existence simply a symptom of structural architecture, what we might also call fate?
Trisha Low is a poet and performer. She is the author of two books—The Compleat Purge (Kenning Editions, 2013) and Socialist Realism (Emily Books, 2019), which won the 2019 Believer Book Award in Nonfiction and the 2020 Lambda Literary Award for Bisexual Nonfiction. Her writing has appeared in publications such as Frieze, the SFMOMA’s Open Space, The Believer, and Art in America. She is an occasional contributor at tor.com and a member of the Light Field film collective, curating experimental film on celluloid. She teaches in the MFA program at the California College of the Arts and serves as editor-at-large at Nightboat Books. She was born in New York, raised in Singapore, and lives in the East Bay of California.
Photo by Kari Orvik.