Author Archive

Family and the State in Kamila Shamsie’s Home Fire

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Like Mohsin Hamid and Ayad Akhtar, Shamsie is concerned with the ways a post-9/11 West has disrupted the lives of Pakistani Muslim immigrants. But where Hamid and Akhtar limit their scope to the individual experiences of brown men, Shamsie maps out the ways the family reacts to and reflects

Jerika Marchan’s Poetry of Hurricane Katrina

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The aftermath of disaster is difficult to measure. The answer changes depending on your metric of loss: number of deaths, houses destroyed, families displaced. Some measures go beyond numbers. You can’t graph grief, hope, trauma, or what it took to survive. But you can collect them in poetry.

Resonance, Dissonance, and the Iraq War

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This year marks fifteen years since the initial US invasion of Iraq in 2003. In Rachel Kushner’s and Lisa Halliday’s newest novels, the war lurks, ever present, in the background.

Measuring the Unknown in Jesse Ball’s Census

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The nature of the census changes continually—it is at points a mechanism of state surveillance, a quest for self-knowledge, an act of community, a measure of goodness, an exchange, a gift.

The “We” in Barbara Jane Reyes’s Invocation to Daughters

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Women’s writing is so often ghettoized and hidden from view. Women write from the private, individual “I,” while men write of the public and the universal “we.” In her newest collection, Invocation to Daughters, Filipino American poet Barbara Jane Reyes boldly and loudly refuses that division.

Nightmares by the Border in The Line Becomes a River

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In the desert, by the border, Francisco Cantú dreams of wolves. They are strange, menacing figures whose appearances portend a message he can’t quite figure out. Are they stalking him, the way he and the rest of the Border Patrol trail Mexican migrants through the Sonoran desert? Are they

Reading the Migrant Experience in Deepak Unnikrishnan’s Temporary People

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Throughout Temporary People, there is a strange, often violent shapeshifting between the human and not. Roaches become men, men become passports, tongues sever themselves from their bodies—what does it mean to be human when you’re not recognized as such? When you’ve left a part of yourself behind?

The Silence of the War in The Story of a Brief Marriage

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War is strangely quiet in Sri Lankan writer Anuk Arudpragasm’s debut novel, The Story of a Brief Marriage.The titular brevity refers to the novel’s running time, which takes place over the course of a single day, but the story and its scope are anything but perfunctory.

Girls in The Lucky Ones

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The stories in Julianne Pachico’s debut collection The Lucky Ones are set in and out of Colombia, following the lives of a group of privileged students and their teachers amidst the country’s ongoing conflict.

Disrupting Silicon Valley in Janice Lobo Sapigao’s microchips for millions

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In her debut collection microchips for millions, Janice Lobo Sapigao disrupts Silicon Valley through poetry, revealing the structural violence that is encoded into it.