Note on the note: after review of the many hybrid offerings, Molly Gaudry offered comments on works which she found particularly representative of hybridness. She was particularly impressed with Erik Wennermark’s combination of multiple styles and subject matter and requested it be selected as an outstanding example of a Hybrid Beast. Molly writes :
Erik Wennermark’s “Chai Vang” offers us a perfect hybrid — equal parts crime drama and testimonio, immigrant journey and cultural exposé, journalism and essay, poetry and prose. Whether Chai Vang is real or proof of Wennermark’s ability to create a fascinating character study, I do not know. This is the power of Chai Vang, whose magic and memory will live on in me, and you, forever. We who read about his life will not, cannot, forget Chai Vang — shaman, brother, husband, father, cultural leader, hunter, murderer. There is a mystery at work here, and ultimately it is up to us, not the jury, to decide whether Chai Vang is guilty of a crime. A complicated case, undeniably. But made easier by Wennermark’s ability to present facts cleanly, to provide details we need and want to know, and to do it all with a literary style and grace entirely his own.