Author Archive

Going Home Again: Reassessing Little House in the Big Woods

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Little House in the Big Woods wasn’t just a pioneer narrative for me; it was an instruction manual, a way to look back and mark the shape of my own work. Rereading the book showed what I actually value in writing.

Vampirism and Unlikable Female Characters in Alissa Nutting’s “Daniel”

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When it comes to women in traditional domestic fiction, likeability hinges on selflessness. While men in these types of stories are allowed agency over their comings and goings in a household, women are expected to continually give of themselves: bodily, spiritually, and emotionally.

Toxic Friends and the Limits of Intimacy in Lauren Groff’s “Blythe”

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By providing characterizations that transcend the limits of traditional intimacy Groff creates a spectrum of dysfunction. Without boundaries, love becomes poisonous. Its removal is painful.

Starved for Affection: Food and Lack in Lori Ostlund’s “Talking Fowl with My Father”

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For many people, this was a year of severing toxic relationships. What does it mean to love someone who refuses to communicate? To love a person who hurts you? Lori Ostlund’s Flannery O’Connor award-winning collection The Bigness of the World takes a look at communication (and miscommunication) in numerous

Remaking Home: Transformative Motherhood in Lisa Ko’s The Leavers

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In Lisa Ko’s The Leavers, a relationship between mother and son becomes a catalyst for analyzing domestic boundaries. At it’s heart, it’s a story about motherhood and personal responsibility.

We Were Strike and Instrument Both: Music and Queerness in Edinburgh

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In Alexander Chee's debut novel, Edinburgh, Chee utilizes song as a discovery space for the body, giving insight into how the main character, Fee, understands his sexuality.

Sculpting Flesh From Text in My Body is a Book of Rules

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How to control the body is a constant theme in Washuta’s work.

Navigating the “Pitiable Skull” in Jean Stafford’s The Interior Castle

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In "The Interior Castle," Jean Stafford utilizes imaginary settings to display the importance of self-ownership and authority. By placing significance on the concrete and the ephemeral, writing about instances of control, and by using pain as a ballast for maintaining boundaries between the real and the imagined, Stafford actualizes

The Effluvia of Short Fiction

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By utilizing various forms of “effluvia” in their work, Amelia Gray, Alexandra Kleeman, and Helen Oyeyemi give us greater insight into the human condition. They show us why shit matters.

“Heat and Rage and the Sweet Stink of Broken Flowers”: Place Informs Character in Bastard out of Carolina

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In Dorothy Allison’s Bastard out of Carolina, home is both cultivated and destroyed alongside characters that hold landscape against their bodies. Home is a beating heart. It’s a branding. Like the hungry, tenacious families Allison creates, her landscapes are just as alive and wanting.