Seeing isn’t always believing. In this segment, on Sound Effect, we discuss three books whose stories are propelled by what goes unseen. King County Supervising Librarian Amber Slaven highlights the work of three regional authors who, in their own ways, explore invisibility.
First on her list is Ann Pancake’s most recent book of short stories, “Me and Daddy Listen to Bob Marley.” Pancake, a teacher at Pacific Lutheran University, pens layered stories, evoking narratives of people who are intensely connecting to their land. She addresses the environmental toll of fracking, and how it affects the mental well-being of those who do the work. Her stories include mention of ghosts, bones, drug addiction, mental illness – all of which are invisible to the naked eye.
Next is Elissa Washuta’s coming of age memoir, “My Body is a Book of Rules.” The reader is strapped to a rollercoaster narrative that parallels her bipolar disorder as the author navigates college in Maryland, then heads off to graduate school in Seattle. As a member of the Cowlitz tribe, who plays up digestible Native stereotypes to appease white adults, Washuta tries to manage her expected identity and her own shaky sense of self. Her perceived white privilege, mental health, ethnic identity, gender, and sexual trauma coalesce and reflect intersecting nature of invisibility.