‘Sometimes I think it’s possible to live with anything. That we’re wired to survive, survive, survive, to grip on to the gnarliest thread until life is pried from our bones. Other times I think it’s not possible to live at all. Not at all.’
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.
Praise for Yellow City:
‘While awaiting the publication of Ellena Savage’s debut essay collection, Blueberries, we have this blessing of a chapbook, Yellow City. A former editor of Farrago and The Lifted Brow, Savage has published widely already, her voice reassuringly droll, critical and warmly intimate. “Does trauma need a witness? If it does, you’ll need to have this published.” Savage takes her own advice with this traumatic story, injecting it first with verve and crisp humour.’
Louise Swinn, The Saturday Paper
‘Savage navigates delicate and difficult terrain with wit, ruthless scrutiny and painfully sharp analysis. No thought goes uninterrogated, and the essay complicates rather than resolves itself as it unfolds. The result is an unsettling and thought-provoking essay that can hold its own contradictions. If Yellow City is any indication, Blueberries will be one of the most exciting debuts of the new year.’
Caitlin McGregor, Overland
‘I once said to Ellena Savage that I admired how whatever she reads finds its way into her prose. I’m pretty sure she thought I was negging her, but I said it with the greatest envy. I wasn’t trying to say she was a sponge, soaking up the messes that other writers leave behind, but rather that her writing is always expanding, voracious, never complacent. As Maggie Nelson would say, Ellena Savage knows what it means to think with others, and more than that, Savage writes with them. Where the male genius sees influence as a shame to be buried deep, Savage weaves her intellectual communions into the body of her writing, proving that genius doesn’t come from divine inspiration but rather arises from confronting that which shapes her. In Yellow City, we see how ugly those influences may sometimes be.’
Rebecca Harkins-Cross, Sydney Review of Books
‘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
‘And it’s so funny! So snide and clever and irreverent.’
Eloise Grills, author of Big Beautiful Female Theory
Launch party photos below are by Leah Jing.
Rebecca Harkins-Cross launched the party, and the text was performed by a chorus of readers: Dom Amerena, Jennifer Nguyen, Nader Ruhayel, Laura McPhee-Browne.