Incubation: A Space for Monsters

Incubation: A Space for Monsters (Leon Works)

February 28, 2007

Bhanu Kapil

"If the cyborg you read about in bookstores is an immigrant from Mexico crossing into the US beneath a floodlit court, then mine is a Punjabi British hitchhiker on a J1 visa." So begins the fascinating story of Laloo, part girl, part machine, as she journeys across America in Bhanu Kapil's latest novel, Incubation-a book threaded with poetry, danger, longing, confusion, humor, struggle and desire. Kapil's poetic virtuosity and deceptive rhythms could sweep readers up and carry them whole-body through the narrative. Her formal choices, however, resist the smooth ride. The structure, both elegant and unwieldy, is appropriate for a book about monsters and the "other." So if you're used to strapping yourself into a perspective and watching the story unfold as you peer comfortably through the passenger window, then this book may come as a healthy shock. Part manual, part travel narrative, the text will not settle on a single perspective or identity. As Laloo evolves, the text evolves. It asks that the reader evolve with it. -Todd Chapman

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