Art and Power in Julian Barnes’ The Noise of Time

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Music is represented in Barnes’ novel, a fictionalized biography of the Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich, as a means of propaganda and control, a means of subverting that propaganda, and as a pure art form, free from the petty politics of history.

“As a writer, what history or current events do I have permission to write about?”: An Interview with Jihyun Yun

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Weaving together her experiences of womanhood, of her Korean-American heritage, of her place within diaspora, poet Jihyun Yun goes beyond simple dualities, privileging instead what remains irreducible in the face of neat labeling.

The Lyricism of Mundane Grief in Joy Enough and The Long Goodbye

Death’s lyricism, perhaps, can only be found after the fact, when one tries to prettify the tedium and make sense of inner chaos.

The Fairy Tale Logic of Helen Oyeyemi’s Gingerbread

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Mutable logic flows through every aspect of Oyeyemi’s new novel—plot, character, and space—revealing the flexibility of structures and worldviews that we normally see as rigid and immovable.

Silence in Sally Rooney’s Conversations with Friends

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Wordless acts of love that help alleviate pain, the intensity of conversations that build relationships, the depth of feelings that complicate them—Rooney makes it clear that such meaningful silences aren’t captured by the texts, emails, and messages in digital communication.

Horse Poems

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Horses are ghosts. They are living reminders of our preindustrial past. Like ghosts, they remind us of uncomfortable things. For example, twenty-three racehorses have died running the track at Santa Anita since last December.

The Wandering Writer

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Not all wandering is equal; not all bodies can move easily through all spaces. While there is always the possibility of danger in wandering, there is also, however, a benefit to changing our surroundings and seeing a world beyond what we are used to.

Nightingale by Paisley Rekdal

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Paisley Rekdal’s sixth poetry collection explores the ways desire, pain, fear, and trauma transform us, often without our permission, and often into something unexpected.

A Romp through the Wilds of Language

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The most striking thing about Caroline Knox’s latest poetry collection is the way it savors and explores the nuances of language.

Reading The Human Stain

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Philip Roth’s book is an in-depth, punch-in-the-gut study of the notion of judgment and blame-laying.