Modern Day Ghost Stories

In contemporary memoir, like works by Kiese Laymon and Jesmyn Ward, the ghosts that haunt the narrators are past selves, dead loved ones, or other traumas that manifest in these writers’ lives.

The Moral Universe in Ninety-Nine Stories of God

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Fiction writer and essayist Joy Williams wears sunglasses all the time—a fact that might be a walking metaphor. In Williams’ world, it seems, God is also wearing a pair of mirrored sunglasses, and after we tire of making funny faces at ourselves in His lenses, we start to panic.

The Last Love Poem I Will Ever Write by Gregory Orr

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The crystalized, perfectly-clear articulations of grief that begin the collection ring through it, making it impossible to read even the simplest lyric as light.

Reading Carmen Maria Machado’s Update on Carmilla

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In this new edition, Machado has taken on the duty of an antique frame restorer. The resulting work is a hybrid form, a beautiful and terrible monster that shifts whenever you look at it, back and forth between history and fantasy, repression and liberation, horror and desire.

The Sound of Trauma

Juan Gabriel Vásquez’s third novel is a story about how trauma flashes, like lightning, but then crashes and reverberates throughout one’s life more slowly, like thunder.

Fiction of the Shopping Mall

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We already know that consumer goods are not the stuff of human happiness. And yet, stories by Carmen Maria Machado, Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, and Aimee Bender underline this reality while also rendering it more complex, interrogating the ways in which we can and cannot resist capitalism and its cruelties.

The Dark Side of the Wild

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How does the idea of the “wild” manifest itself in the lives, and ways of living, that contemporary America remains both fascinated by and deeply ambivalent about?

Bunny by Mona Awad

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Awad’s leap into the unreal summons new life to the familiar woes of academia and art making.

Silence and Memory in Everything Is Illuminated

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By revolving the story around Augustine’s silent photograph, Foer draws on the elegiac nature inherent in photography while examining the limitations of representation.

Tracing Ancestry in The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South

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Throughout his life, the kitchen was the place where truth always found Michael Twitty. It was where he first came out to his mother. Where he first felt kinship toward Jewish tradition. And where he decided to delve as deeply as possible into the culinary history of his ancestors.