Sagittarius season, at once magnetic and tumultuous, may also be recognized as the traditional “holiday season.” Riding in on a cold wind, it is a season that heightens…never numbs. A time of fight or flight, a time of parties and personal freedoms, a time of fire. Sagittarius season brings with it a feeling, blooming against each evening, that is bold and never boring. High in the southern sky sits its muse, shooting stars like arrows to earth.
The Hour of the Star by Clarice Lispector
“Hurricane Clarice” crash landed in the artistic sphere of attention in the 1940s, announcing herself as a vibrant new voice in the male-dominated world of Latin American literature. Born to a refugee family in what is now Ukraine, Lispector was raised in Brazil and belonged to it, despite its subtle suspicion of her. In fact, over the course of her successful albeit stormy career, she would be named everything from beauty to witch to legend. The Hour of the Star is her final novel and a perfect work of perspective.
Palmares by Gayl Jones
Gayl Jones, in true and admirable Sagittarius fashion, recently broke 22 years of silence with one 500-page masterpiece. No interviews, no photographs, no readings, just work. Since the release of her debut novel Corregidora in 1975, Jones has transcended public expectation–to say nothing of the trauma she endured at the hands of it. Palmares, which Jones began writing more than four decades ago, was self-published in 2021 and soon became a contender for the Pulitzer Prize. In it, she maps the realms of the unthinkable, history pulled taut against her bowstring.
Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown
A famed Lavender Menace, an uncompromising member of the Women’s Liberation Movement, a judgemental femme, and a contributing voice to the genre of queer literature, Rita Mae Brown has still longed to be more than the “lesbian” she was branded as with the debut of Rubyfruit Jungle in 1973. Like many authors born between the end of November and beginning of December, Brown has shunned each title bestowed upon her–activist, lesbian, and, now, Sagittarius–no matter how true.
The Vegetarian by Han Kang
A close neighbor to the scorpion, the centaur is aggressive and wild and wise. Han Kang, born in late November of 1970 in South Korea, is an author who embodies all of those traits and The Vegetarian is a novella that tries. Translated into English some eight years after its Korean publication in 2007, this book rose quickly to a cult status. It made waves as the winner of the Man Booker International Prize and still rocks its readers today as a probe into trauma, an ode to the sublime, and a brief but thorough indictment of patriarchy.
Songs of Innocence and of Experience by William Blake
Sagittarians are obsessed with freedom, and even William Blake, an 18th-century Christian mystic and visionary artist, could not escape its siren call. When he published the first half of Songs of Innocence and of Experience in 1789 and the second half five years later to little acclaim, few imagined that it would become one of the most illuminating (literally) explorations of human experience in the literary canon: both before and after the fall and in general.
Sarah J. Bofenkamp is a reader, writer, and librarian living in Palouse, Washington.
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