Fiction Archive

Review: THE STATE WE’RE IN: MAINE STORIES by Ann Beattie

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THE STATE WE’RE IN: MAINE STORIES Ann Beattie Scribner, Aug 2015 224 pages $25 buy: hardcover | eBook Maine, for Ann Beattie in her new collection, is a state of life, and that is the beautiful trick of the title, The State We’re In: Maine Stories. It is both

The Fairytale Redux: On Patrick deWitt’s “Undermajordomo Minor”

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The last thing the world needs is another reimagining of the fairy tale. It has been done from every angle: straightforward, post-modern, and (yawn) from the villain’s perspective. So it was with some wariness that I approached Patrick deWitt’s new novel, Undermajordomo Minor, a fairy tale of sorts that

Review: NOTHING LOOKS FAMILIAR by Shawn Syms

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NOTHING LOOKS FAMILIAR Shawn Syms Arsenal Pulp Press Published in Canada September 2014; available elsewhere since May 2015 184 pages $15.95 Buy paperback | NOOK | Kindle Complex characters are damn hard to write. Perhaps this explains why contemporary fiction is full of characters designed to be relatable and easily digestible. These

Review: SWEET CARESS by William Boyd

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Sweet Caress William Boyd Bloomsbury, September 15, 2015 449 pp, $28 Buy here Sweet Caress is the newest novel from the acclaimed William Boyd, author of notable works such as Any Human Heart and A Good Man in Africa. The novel centers on Amory Clay, one of the first

Review: MAYHEM: THREE LIVES OF A WOMAN by Elizabeth Harris

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Mayhem: Three Lives of a Woman Elizabeth Harris Gival Press, October 2015 140 pp, $20 Pre-order here In the opening scene of this exquisite first novel by prizewinning short fiction writer Elizabeth Harris, a young farm wife in a black cloche hat and rummage sale dress climbs out of

Reading as Intoxicant, Part I: Neurochemical Qualities of the Modern Manic Page Peeler

Richard Wright once wrote that reading is like a drug. Countless other authors have written some variation of that same assertion. If you’ve ever found yourself crushed in a corner weeping like a crazy person because the end of your latest literary fixation was fast coming to a close,

Review: MR. AND MRS. DOCTOR by Julie Iromuanya

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Mr. and Mrs. Doctor Julie Iromuanya Coffee House Press, 2015 288 pages Buy: book | eBook Job Ogbonnaya is a liar—or, depending on your taste, a dreamer. After his brother Samuel dies in the Biafran war, Job becomes the hope of his family. They send him to school in

Interactivity and the Game-ification of Books

As an undergrad studying creative writing one of the first things I remember learning was the sin of gimmickry. Readers, I was taught, would see through your cleverness—it would be vile to them and they would hate you. But as a kid and teenager my favorite books employed some

Review: GET IN TROUBLE by Kelly Link

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Get in Trouble Kelly Link Random House, Feb 2015 352 pages Buy: book | eBook For a long time, with all due respect to the memoirists, I’ve believed that fiction holds a particular truth in literature. Maybe by removing the self from the work, and unburdening the story of actual

Five Speculative Tales Still Relevant Today (And What They Can Teach Us)

1. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood Seven-Word Summary: Women enslaved by tyrannical dicks with dicks. Excerpt: “Maybe none of this is about control. Maybe it really isn’t about who can own whom, who can do what to whom and get away with it, even as far as death.