Summer 2023 • Vol. XLV No. 1 NonfictionJune 13, 2023 |


The Kenyon Review · Eviscerations It was late, just after the IV antibiotics and bedtime meds, when Barbara shook me from a half sleep. “Jennifer,” she whispered. “You speak Spanish, right?” “Yes?”  “Can you explain to this lady” — she grabbed Vita’s arm and pulled her close to my bed — “that I need to stick this medication up her butt?” “Um.” I tried to pull myself into a sitting position and failed. “It’s not a phrase I’ve used often.” My Spanish was rusty, as were my performing skills, but with a combination of the two I managed to convey to the frightened Vita1what Barbara wanted to do to her, and she nodded obediently. They disappeared behind Vita’s curtain. There were four of us in bay 4 of the Victor Bonney ward in Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea Hospital, in London, where we were all recovering from evisceration, a word I am not sure I could ever use metaphorically again. We compared how many body parts

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Jennifer Steil is the author of Exile Music (Viking, 2020), winner of the Grand Prize for a published book in the Eyelands Book Awards 2020 and of the International Book Awards in the Multicultural and Historical novel categories. Exile Music also was a finalist for the 2021 Lambda Literary Lesbian Fiction Award and the 2020 Bisexual Book Award. Steil’s previous books include The Ambassador’s Wife (Doubleday, 2015), which won the 2013 William Faulkner–William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition Best Novel award and the 2016 Phillip H. McMath Post Publication Book Award, and the memoir The Woman Who Fell from the Sky (Broadway Books, 2010). Her work has appeared in The New York Times, New Orleans Review, Saranac Review, World Policy Journal, The Gay & Lesbian Review, Mystery Weekly Magazine, The Week, Time, Life, Peauxdunque Review, The Washington Times, British Vogue, Die Welt, the New York Post, The Rumpus, and Mystery Weekly and has been broadcast on Raidió Teilifís Éireann, France 24 (English), and CBS News Radio.

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