The Last of Us Part II: A Review

The Last of Us first came out in 2013 for the PlayStation 3. To me at the time, it was one of those rare videogames with an actual story to tell. It transcended the pulpy irreverence that is typical with the platform and instead, gave its characters and their narrative some weight.

I was most impressed with the game’s ending. I am sure the way I remembered it is flawed, but I’d rather pull from my lingering impressions than to be correct in my recollection: Ellie stares back at Joel after she wakes from unconsciousness. She’s no longer in the hospital they spent the entire game getting to. In fact, she’s nowhere near any of the people who were meant to help her (the Fireflies). Ellie asks Joel what happened, asks if they’ve produced a cure from her immunity. He lies and tells her that it turns out it was impossible—that there are actually many people like her in the world to no avail. Ellie looks at Joel with (what I saw as) suspicion. The game ends with that lingering shot—Ellie judging Joel.

Continue reading

Sooner or Later Everthing Falls into the Sea: Cuentos

5 out of 5 stars

In Sooner or Later Everything Falls into the Sea, Sarah Pinsker proves her worth in salt as a human dictionary.

In this short story collection, published by Small Beer Press (who are also the lovely owners of my favorite local bookstore, Book Moon), Pinsker made me take a hard look in the mirror. I had to admit that my everyday snobbery at dismissing science fiction and fantasy as pulp were unfounded (aside: another book that whipped me into shape was Ted Chiang’s Story of Your Life and Others, the titular story which inspired the movie Arrival).

Continue reading

Normal People: Novela

4 out of 5 stars

I read this book in Dublin, when I was terribly lonely and missing my son like crazy. I read it on the train. I read it on daily walks to the Muji store (actually, I found it at a bookshop next to it). Sally Rooney’s voice makes you feel implicit: what an incredible young writer. I’ve also read Conversations with Friends, and I think I prefer this book. Rooney created a claustrophobic atmosphere inhabited by seemingly “normal people.” This book felt dangerous, especially to those attached to longing and suffering in conversation with unconditional love. It was easy to romanticize Marianne and Connell because they were both beautiful. It made it harder to judge them.

Continue reading