Fiction Archive

Exploring personal politics in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

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The sinister Jean Brodie continues to bewitch: decades after the publication of the novel that bears her name, the myth of her humanism persists; she has long been shorthand for a strain of idealism and independent thought that she never represented in the first place. The Prime of Miss

The Push and Pull of the Small Town in The Annie Year

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So what's inside the fortified small town of The Annie Year? The intimacy of a man "unbuttoning his pants to make room for the prime rib to move through his system" at a diner booth.

Review: A FIELD GUIDE TO MURDER AND FLY FISHING by Tim Weed

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Much of the collection explores the way men navigate their early adult life, the infatuations, the friendships, the sense of belonging and not belonging. Protagonists try to discover who they really are. In the travel stories especially they seem to seek something elusive, irretrievably lost.

Monsters and Men: Empathy in Victor LaValle’s Ballad of Black Tom

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What forces turn someone who is, for the most part, fundamentally good into something possibly evil? This question lies at the heart of much horror. In his novella The Ballad of Black Tom, reimagining characters from the weird fiction universe of HP Lovecraft, Victor LaValle answers that question.

Review: THE SUMMER SHE WAS UNDER WATER by Jen Michalski

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Sam Pinski is drowning. Sometimes, quite literally, but at least metaphorically, “she feels submerged in herself.” Sam seems to struggle to remain herself in a situation where everyone wants her to be their version of Sam Pinski, which is a lot of work on a family vacation.

The End of Things

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Popular opinion says that during the holiday season, people either fall in love or reflect on their past year of life. Sometimes they do both, but it’s hard to manage these conflicting actions at the same time. One is active, expressive, and outward moving. The other is passive, observational,

Review: SWING TIME by Zadie Smith

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In a novel about history, about generations, reading Swing Time is like suddenly remembering a song you used to love.

Review: WHERE WE LAND by Daryl Farmer

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And though all the stories follow different lives and the situations they face, it is Farmer’s simultaneous childlike-wonder and knowing restraint that weave these stories together into one, strikingly cohesive collection.

I, Gambler

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Much like the games they glamorize, gambling narratives are fraught with risk. They risk losing the reader in the minutiae of strategy and tactics.

David Lida’s ONE LIFE is the Injection of Humanity for Your Post-Election Blues

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Post-election, escapism is the only salve when no one can seem to look each other in the eye. David Lida’s newest novel, ONE LIFE, is exactly the dark-humored piece of literature everyone should be indulging in right now.