The Magical Language of Others: A Memoir

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E.J. Koh Writes Toward Uncomfortable Truths


At Asymptote Journal, E.J. Koh discusses her memoir, The Magical Language of Others, and shares why the collective memory plays a big role in how she writes about loss and trauma. “There are many kinds of losses that must be imagined,” Koh says. “The loss of the dead and the loss for remaining alive. There is a braiding that happens between testimony and reparation, imagination and reconciliation. There is also the changing of names, from the location of the atrocity to the date when it took place, as a braiding. There are many kinds of truths from victims, scholars, perpetrators, but also the dead. There is the imagination to fathom a war and the imagination to live in its aftermath. It is possible to avoid difficult subjects, but they need not be avoided.”

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