Visceral and elegantly brutal, Joanna Ruocco’s latest deftly zags from feculent domesticity to brotherly nightmare. A startling, alarming, and highly accomplished book.
Another Governess / The Least Blacksmith: A Diptych
Stark and vibrant, the two halves of this sutured book expose the Frankenstein-like scars of the assemblage we call “human.” In Another Governess, a woman in a decaying manor tries to piece together her own story. In “The Least Blacksmith” a man cannot help but fail his older brother as they struggle to run their father’s forge.
Each of the stories stands alone, sharing neither characters nor settings. But together, they ask the same question: What are the wages of being? The relentless darkness of these tales is punctured by hope — the violent hope of the speaking subject.
Joanna Ruocco is very funny and very serious and very smart and very curious and very good at making stories that map the unmappable wrinkles of the mind. Another Governess / The Least Blacksmith confirms Ruocco’s major talent and takes it a step further. What a pleasure to read her work, to revel in it.