Reading The Paper Menagerie

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Ken Liu’s 2011 collection includes a wide array of stories, ranging in style from speculative to science fiction to magical realism; it’s also a prime example of a work that shifts focus away from genre tropes and allows the reader to see what these stories look like through a

Children of the Land by Marcelo Hernandez Castillo

In his new memoir, Marcelo Hernandez Castillo writes missing pages of humanity into the history books of immigration.

The Mechanization of Violence in Animalia

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Through etymological conversion, our minds have come to separate “flesh” from “meat,” sublimating the violent methods necessary to render bodies into food and making us believe we know with certainty what separates our own bodies from the bodies that we destine to be eaten.

Infatuation and Imaginative Language

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Lovesickness of the kind Cynthia Ozick describes is intimately linked with language. The essay, both in content and form, suggests that the beauty and purpose of infatuation is in its generation of language, a purpose particularly fruitful for a writer.

Home as Metonymy for Country in The Locust and the Bird: My Mother’s Story

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Set in decades past, Hanan al-Shaykh’s novel remains relevant to women’s rights today: she uses her narrator’s struggle to draw upon sociopolitical issues, positioning women’s stories as a means of redefining the political and societal in terms of the personal, and insisting on the importance of reaching beyond presiding

Cleanness by Garth Greenwell

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Greenwell’s novel feels at once perilously modern and coolly baroque; a Sebaldian melancholy wafts up like a fog through the spaces in his lovingly turned sentences.

Kawabata Yasunari’s House of the Sleeping Beauties and the Male Gaze

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In his 1961 novella, Kawabata takes the idea of the male gaze and makes it concrete, a laboratory in which to test our preconceptions about masculinity and male privilege.

“We are forgetting what has already happened in Cancún”: An Interview with Juan Villoro

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The satirization of the all-inclusive resort, a symbol of international tourism, could only be accomplished in a meaningful way by a titan of Mexican letters like Juan Villoro. Not only does he have the qualifications, but he has a unique capacity to create absurdist characters.

Fighting Muteness in Pat Barker’s The Silence of the Girls

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A feminist retelling of the Iliad, Barker’s novel seeks to give voice to the women and girls behind the epic, and in doing so becomes a clear rebuke to centuries of patriarchal silencing.

The Power of Oral Stories in The Distant Marvels

Keeping the stories, the myths, the facts, and the losses of the Cuban people alive is important. Telling these stories is an act of active resistance against the washing away of the Cuban people who have toiled under colonizers and dictators.