THE GIRLS AT 17 SWANN STREET By Yara Zgheib
THE CARE AND FEEDING OF RAVENOUSLY HUNGRY GIRLS By Anissa Gray
No one seems to diet anymore. People may go on a “cleanse” or attempt to “eat clean,” but their goal is grander than mere weight loss — they’re seeking a vague sense of equanimity that’s become known as “wellness.” The modern woman aspires to be “strong” and “healthy”; she does not care (or not explicitly) about fitting into a smaller dress size. “Self-care” is trendy, while self-denial is not, even if both require skipping dessert.
This new, reverent language around dieting offers innumerable euphemisms for eating disorders. When Anna, the main character of Yara Zgheib’s debut, “The Girls at 17 Swann Street,” arrives at the clinic that gives the novel its title, she informs a concerned therapist that she is vegan. “I also avoid processed foods, refined sugars, high fructose corn syrup and trans fats,” she says with pride. The 26-year-old Parisian, a former dancer, sees herself as health-conscious, when really she is starving. At intake, she is 88 pounds. The first of a series of medical reports, printed throughout the novel to mark Anna’s progress, states that she suffers from a dozen different conditions including “malnutrition — severe.”
This early exchange between Anna and her therapist is one of just a few moments in the book that reference contemporary buzzwords, that feel current (another counselor discourages the use of “triggering” language). Eating disorders are often considered a contagion of popular culture, but the residents of 17 Swann Street don’t have the energy to watch films or discuss internet memes. Recovery is all-encompassing. The clinic is in Missouri, but it could be anywhere. Anna and the others live in their own private time zone. They eat six times a day. If they watch television, it’s reruns of the Olympics from years earlier.
What distinguishes Anna from the other gauzy young women at the clinic is that she maintains a daily tether to the outside — her husband, Matthias, who visits every night, between dinner and evening snack. Though the novel’s present tracks Anna’s time in treatment, there are frequent flashbacks to her blissful former life with Matthias in Paris, vignettes in which food often plays a central role. On an early date, Anna trades her uneaten olives for his discarded pizza crusts. Later on, they are too settled in their happiness to address her anorexia, even when she becomes so weak that she can’t enjoy roller coasters, beach trips or sex. The chapters set in Swann Street are written in the first person, in tight, understated prose that conjures Anna’s utter exhaustion. “I do not laugh very often anymore. Very little is funny. When I do, it sounds different,” Anna thinks. The passages about her life with Matthias are written in the third person, in lush, descriptive sentences.
But the true love story of this novel is not between Anna and Matthias, but between Anna and the other residents. “Anorexia is the same story told every time by a different girl. Her name does not matter,” Anna reflects. This shared diagnosis leads to a fierce solidarity among the residents. When one girl strains to finish her meal, the others distract her with horoscopes, word games and quiet kindnesses. “No girl left at the table alone” is their golden rule. They are too ill to find relief in the “body positivity” movement happening outside and online; the only people who can understand their overwhelming fear of fatness are one another. Anna’s illness may not be unique, but her story is a singular celebration of the lifesaving power of community and small gestures.
Eating disorders are associated with the young, white and privileged — the kind of women who tend to be in treatment at Swann Street. But Anissa Gray’s debut novel, “The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls,” complicates this stereotype. One of the novel’s narrators, Viola Butler, is a 40-something black woman with an eating disorder. She is by no means a girl — she’s a successful therapist who drives a Lexus — but, like the residents at Swann Street, she is addicted to a regimen of excessive exercise and calorie counting. Control, or the illusion of it, is her drug of choice.
The central story line of the novel follows the Butler family as it responds to the unexpected arrest of Viola’s older sister. Althea Marie Butler-Cochran was once a widely respected member of her community, a restaurateur and philanthropist, who was caught skimming money from her charities. After her conviction, Viola and their younger sister, Lillian, upend their lives to raise Althea’s teenage daughters in the small Michigan town where they grew up.
It’s a fast-paced, intriguing story, but the novel’s real achievement is its uncommon perceptiveness on the origins and variations of addiction. The three Butler sisters, who take turns narrating the story, each have their own preferred method of self-sabotage. Althea steals, Lillian is unfaithful to her husband, Viola struggles with bulimia. In a particularly excruciating scene, she checks into a highway motel with a load of junk food and proceeds to eat, then purge, it all. Afterward, she feels a blitz of relief: “Xanax couldn’t make me feel any mellower.” As soon as the calm recedes, she reaches for a fresh pack of Oreos.
Gray’s novel unfolds like a mystery, with each chapter revealing new information about how the Butler sisters found themselves in this situation. This is not a whodunit: Althea is unambiguously guilty. The mystery is why she did it, or why Lillian cheats, or Viola binges. Details emerge about their traumatic childhoods that help to explain their perennial discontent, what Viola describes as “the thing in you that cries out, endlessly, More, please.” By the end of the novel, this ravenous hunger has been satiated, at least somewhat, by the sisters’ renewed affection for one another, something they had each been craving for a long time.B:
本港台94版美梦成真【而】【胜】【利】【这】【又】【说】【道】：“【好】【像】，【并】【不】【止】【是】【这】【么】【简】【单】，【我】【爸】【妈】，【嗯】，【其】【中】【一】【个】【是】【地】【上】【人】，【另】【外】【一】【个】【才】【是】【海】【里】【的】，【我】【就】【是】【混】【血】【种】？【但】【也】【不】【对】，【陆】【地】【人】【也】【是】【海】【里】【面】【人】【出】【来】【的】，【实】【际】【上】【大】【家】【的】【差】【别】【不】【大】【呢】。” 【铃】【铛】【和】【叶】【甜】【甜】【沉】【默】，【此】【时】【知】【道】【了】【的】【事】【情】，【还】【真】【是】【个】【极】【大】【的】【秘】【密】。 “【海】【里】【的】【生】【命】【吗】？【真】【的】【居】【然】【是】【有】【海】【种】【人】！”【铃】【铛】
【沈】【玲】【儿】【虽】【然】【不】【知】【道】【所】【谓】【远】【程】【传】【送】【的】【原】【理】【和】【安】【全】【性】，【但】【她】【相】【信】【程】【雷】【绝】【不】【会】【做】【危】【险】【的】【事】。 【所】【以】【她】【什】【么】【都】【没】【问】，【跟】【着】【程】【雷】【来】【到】【了】【华】【韵】【的】【地】【下】【实】【验】【室】。 “【这】【也】【太】【简】【陋】【了】【吧】？”【可】【沈】【玲】【儿】【看】【到】【了】【准】【备】【好】【的】【符】【阵】，【依】【旧】【忍】【不】【住】【后】【悔】【了】。 【在】【他】【们】【面】【前】，【一】【个】【大】【理】【石】【台】【子】【直】【接】【刻】【画】【着】【各】【种】【符】【纹】，【形】【成】【了】【一】【个】【不】【算】【太】【复】【杂】【的】【符】【阵】
“【信】【心】【不】【错】。” 【方】【莫】【哈】【哈】【一】【笑】，【啃】【着】【肉】【的】【他】，【却】【也】【无】【比】【的】【自】【信】。 【现】【在】，【他】【们】【来】【了】，【而】【且】【还】【是】【在】【鲜】【卑】【主】【力】【出】【发】【的】【情】【况】【之】【下】，【如】【果】【这】【都】【无】【法】【赢】【得】【胜】【利】【的】【话】，【那】【他】【们】【也】【太】【过】【废】【物】【了】，【这】【绝】【对】【不】【是】【他】【们】【的】【风】【格】。 【对】【方】【主】【力】【不】【在】【家】，【他】【们】【要】【是】【连】【这】【都】【赢】【不】【了】，【以】【后】【也】【就】【不】【用】【打】【仗】【了】。 【当】【然】。 【主】【力】【在】【攻】【击】【着】【渔】【阳】
【埃】【里】【尼】【斯】【相】【信】【命】【运】，【洛】【恩】【同】【样】【相】【信】【命】【运】。 【他】【相】【信】【自】【己】【的】【命】【运】【绝】【不】【会】【是】【倒】【在】【这】【个】【地】【方】。 “【这】【片】【浓】【雾】【有】【古】【怪】。” 【这】【时】【候】，【三】【川】【歧】【突】【然】【开】【口】【说】【道】。 “【见】【闻】【色】【霸】【气】【无】【法】【穿】【透】【这】【浓】【雾】，【我】【的】【见】【闻】【色】【范】【围】【被】【压】【缩】【在】【一】【米】【左】【右】。” 【此】【时】，【他】【们】【的】【视】【野】【几】【乎】【被】【白】【茫】【茫】【的】【一】【片】【所】【包】【围】，【除】【了】【站】【在】【周】【围】【的】【同】【伴】，【再】【也】【看】【不】
【陈】【院】【长】【的】【话】【刚】【刚】【说】【完】，【众】【人】【纷】【纷】【帮】【助】【陈】【枫】【说】【道】：“【不】【错】，【我】【相】【信】【陈】【神】【医】，【我】【的】【病】【就】【是】【在】【这】【里】【医】【治】【好】【的】，【完】【全】【没】【有】【问】【题】。” “【不】【错】，【我】【也】【相】【信】【陈】【神】【医】，【为】【什】【么】【这】【么】【多】【人】【没】【有】【事】【情】【而】【你】【却】【有】【事】【情】【了】，【还】【故】【意】【两】【天】【之】【后】【来】【这】【里】【闹】，【分】【明】【就】【是】【狼】【心】【狗】【肺】，【故】【意】【栽】【赃】【陷】【害】，【想】【让】【神】【医】【身】【败】【名】【裂】。” “【我】【不】【管】【你】【们】【怎】【么】【样】，【反】本港台94版美梦成真【东】【方】【令】【音】【眼】【神】【露】【出】【杀】【气】，【她】【背】【对】【着】【奇】【郁】，【他】【还】【不】【知】。 “【你】【问】【神】【华】【山】【做】【什】【么】？”【她】【已】【近】【冰】【冷】【的】【语】【气】。 “【姑】【娘】，【我】【是】【因】【为】【好】【奇】，【随】【便】【问】【问】。”【他】【当】【然】【不】【能】【说】【实】【话】。 “【不】【知】【道】。”【东】【方】【令】【音】【无】【意】【与】【他】【周】【旋】，【径】【直】【离】【开】【了】，【只】【留】【下】【这】【样】【一】【句】【话】。 【若】【不】【是】【因】【为】【怀】【中】【的】【紫】【季】，【她】【一】【定】【亲】【手】【把】【他】【赶】【出】【去】。【希】【望】【他】【能】【够】【尽】
【顾】【清】【妩】【和】【江】【颜】【一】【直】【在】【探】【讨】【着】【该】【如】【何】【销】【毁】【利】【器】【一】【事】，【全】【然】【将】【跟】【在】【身】【后】【的】【慕】【烨】【忘】【了】【个】【彻】【底】。 【系】【统】【幸】【灾】【乐】【祸】【道】：“【我】【便】【说】【人】【家】【定】【会】【嫌】【弃】【你】【吧】，【就】【你】【这】【弱】【不】【禁】【风】【的】【样】【子】，【真】【是】【有】【够】【惹】【人】【生】【厌】【的】。” 【慕】【烨】【亦】【是】【有】【心】【无】【力】，【纵】【使】【他】【有】【万】【千】【思】【绪】，【可】【这】【该】【死】【的】【身】【子】【却】【是】【让】【他】【什】【么】【都】【做】【不】【了】。 【看】【着】【顾】【清】【妩】【与】【江】【颜】【两】【人】【热】【切】【交】【谈】