Author Archive

Reentry

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In literature, a return to a previously inhabited place or state often becomes a means of measuring. Here we are, back in the same place, yet not quite the same. What has changed, and what hasn’t, and what does that balance of sameness and difference do to us?

Scaffolding

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As people who will die someday, and whose loved ones will die someday, we all live with at least one large dark truth from which we often try to avert our gazes. This tension—knowing a thing, but living as far away from that knowledge as possible—surfaces in literature too.

Bodies in “The Bloody Chamber”

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When stories transport me, they usually do it inside a character’s body, and the farther afield the story is taking me, the more important the physical details of the characters’ experiences become.

An Animating Strangeness

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I can’t resist impossibilities in fiction. Of course, a story’s fabulism is no guarantee I’m going to love that story in the end—but if a first line promises me a new world, I’m going to keep reading.

The Current

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Lately I’ve been thinking more than usual, like a lot of us, I suspect, about the two stages I occupy at the same time, in each moment and with every decision: the personal and the political. My own small domestic stage has stretched.

Constructing Selves: Character in Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum’s “Accomplice”

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I’ve written before about the magic I find, as a writer and reader, in the world of the school as a setting for fiction. Like most of my predilections when it comes to literature, gravitating toward this world isn’t really a conscious choice.

To Dream

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There’s nothing quite like a new baby for creating an obsession with all things sleep-related. My second daughter was born on December 6th, and in our dark bedroom at night, my brain is full of the same whirring calculations I remember from my older daughter’s first few weeks.

The Effects of Children

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My second daughter is due on December 11th. A couple of months back, I wrote about how all-consuming I was already finding this period of waiting; now, of course, I’m swollen to bursting with it.

Launching

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Today, my first book launches. It’s kind of a wonderful word, launch: such propulsive force in its sound. Such muscular, fearless leaping. To mark the occasion, I thought I’d take a look at launchings of various kinds in literature. Not gradual beginnings, not slow evolutions into different forms, but sudden

A Held Breath: Alice Munro’s “Tricks” and Waiting in Literature

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I am in the midst of an anticipating season. My first book comes out in a month; my second baby will be born in a little over two. I’m finding that in terms of productivity right now I’m pretty useless.