Panics by Barbara Molinard, translated by Emma Ramadan / ISBN 9781558612952 / 153-page paperback just published by the Feminist Press
A haunting, bizarre short story collection about violence, mental illness, and the warped contradictions of the twentieth-century female experience.
A close friend and protégé of Marguerite Duras, Barbara Molinard (1921–1986) wrote and wrote feverishly, but only managed to publish one book in her lifetime: the surreal, nightmarish collection Panics.
These thirteen stories beat with a frantic, off-kilter rhythm as Molinard obsesses over sickness, death, and control. A woman becomes transfixed by a boa constrictor at her local zoo, mysterious surgeons dismember their patient, and the author narrates to Duras how she was stopped from sleeping in a cemetery vault, only to be haunted by the pain of sleeping on its stone floor.
In the unsettling tradition of Franz Kafka, Djuna Barnes, Leonara Carrington, and more, Panics recovers the work of a tormented writer who often destroyed her writing as soon as she produced it, and whose insights into violence, mental illness, and bodily autonomy are simultaneously absurdist and razor-sharp.