Published in The Atlas Review Chapbook Series, Yellow City chronicles the author’s return to Lisbon years after experiencing a violent event and her struggle to piece together memories and elusive facts.
On May 31, 2019, Yellow City was launched at The Alderman in East Brunswick. It was launched by critic and author Rebecca Harkins-Cross, and the text was performed by a chorus of readers: Dom Amerena, Jennifer Nguyen, Nader Ruhayel, Laura McPhee-Browne, and me.
The brilliant Leah Jing photographed the evening.
More about Yellow City
The Atlas Review:
In Yellow City, Savage traces the infuriating, Kafkaesque bureaucracy of reporting a crime by way of daily record, and what it means to follow up with the crime years later. Savage’s record is methodical, because survivors must be painstakingly accurate to every detail, every wincing inch of the night in question. Indeed, this record sears us.
We are left to meditate on this word almost, this word attempt. In monologue, the phrases “almost-rape” and “attempt” pulse with agony. What is an attempted rape? Savage tells us it is “an encounter during which my flesh remembered the possibility of a violent death. When my body understood for a second that corpses are dismembered to cover up crimes.”
This work must be read. It should have been read in 1912, in 1560, in 2006. I wager it will need to be read in 2040, if we make it that long. Do yourself a favor and preorder this marvel of a chapbook. But don’t just take our word for it:
“In Yellow City, Ellena Savage‘s mind translates the memory of violence into astonishingly brilliant language. She perfectly articulates the creeping feeling that one’s life is irreversible in a way that, prior to reading, I felt language may be incapable of capturing. This made me sure that she was either a genius, or a witch, or my dream coupling of the two.” —Rita Bullwinkel, author of Belly Up
“Delving into troubling territory, Savage brings a fierce intellect, sharp wit, and a handful of uncomfortable truths. To read her is to be simultaneously thrilled and uneasy. Savage is a writer not to miss.” —Jessie Cole, author of Staying
“And it’s so funny! So snide and clever and irreverent.”—Eloise Grills, author of Big Beautiful Female Theory