Author Archive

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

Belonging and Paris Stories

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While the stories in Mavis Gallant’s 2002 collection don’t always center on Paris, a number of the characters have some sort of imagined relationship to the city, using it as a stand-in for their own lack of belonging.

The Longitudinal View of Rebecca Solnit

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Solnit’s approach has reflexivity built into it—a tendency to return to the past and to think through the same event multiple times in light of our current moment. Far from feeling repetitive, then, her most recent collection offers readers nuanced takes on old issues.

The Humanity of True Crime’s Victims

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In two books, Maggie Nelson manages to recount the murder of her aunt, Jane, in terms that don’t elide the true horror of the situation, while keeping Jane’s voice firmly centered for readers.

The Failure of Familial Communication in Happiness, as Such

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Natalia Ginzburg presents a family’s dysfunction as an engrossing emotional rollercoaster, yet manages to make her story both haunting and deeply human.

The Desire of Girls in Machine

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Rather than being a juvenile or simplistic depiction of desire as purely a physical impulse for the adolescent narrator, Susan Steinberg’s first novel presents desire in the mind of an adolescent girl as a larger force, one that is as much existential as it is universal.

The Violence of Dehumanizing Language

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Today, it is crucial to return to Executive Order 9066, which directly resulted in the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. Failing to understand the significance of how difference is articulated and weaponized will lead to a repetition of the same cruelties and mistakes of history.

Narrative and Conspiracy Theories

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Though Thomas Milan Konda notes a recent sharp increase in the consumption of conspiracy theories and is concerned by it, his new book offers insightful context for why the United States has become as obsessed with conspiracy theories as it is.

Personal Identity and The Face: A Time Code

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As Ozeki’s reflection shows, our conception of identity changes over time—whether due to personal maturity or changes in the social climate.

Affect Theory in The Hundreds

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Lauren Berlant and Kathleen Stewart’s collaborative work, a collection of hundred- or multi-hundred–word pieces on art, affect, and politics, draws on the women’s backgrounds in cultural criticism as much as their attunement to the types of feelings that arise from situations or experiences.