Janice Lee recommends Thirii Myo Kyaw Myint’s The End of Peril, the End of Enmity, the End of Strife, a Haven (Noemi Press, 2018)

For me, this is one of the most exciting books of fiction to have come out in recent years. There are many things I could point out about this book: the way the novel resists the container of any recognizable narrative, the lack of names, the magical structuring of various threads that seem to both be out of sync and simultaneous, the restless and impossible way that chronological time is disrupted, the merging of identity (especially between girl and girl, mother and daughter, self and other), the accumulation of reverie and deterioration in the carefully crafted syntax. And yet what was most striking to me was the way that this book also resists the category and label of apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic narratives.

In an interview at Electric Literature, Myint states: “In my mind, The End of Peril takes place in a fictionalized, post-apocalyptic present, not a future. It is important for me to make this distinction because most of the world’s population (the “global south”) already live — presently — in the post-apocalypse. For a person like me, who was born in a postcolonial country, a so-called “developing” country, the apocalypse began centuries ago with European invasion and imperialism. That was the end of the world… The world ended long ago, but it is still ending now.” And in another interview at Entropy, “[F]or me, the post-apocalypse is not speculative; it is real. It is not a vision of the future, but of the present.” In this way, the apocalypse isn’t seen as an event that signals a kind of finality or heroic gesture, but about the repeated cycles of failure and devastation. Myint’s language is mesmerizing and unsettling. One finds it hard to settle into the past, and yet there is nowhere else to go. Beautiful, haunting, and unlike anything else I’ve read, I can’t recommend this one enough.