Critical Essays Archive
Glittering with playful weirdness alongside mystical spirituality, Leonora Carrington’s “My Mother is a Cow” converges with the Christian tradition of divine incarnation and infuses it with queerness.
André Aciman’s 2017 novel is a story specifically focused on desire in all of its forms, but it is the desire to reinvent oneself through romantic love that haunts the novel and is its motivating force.
The scale of privilege constantly shifts in Madeline Stevens’ debut novel, fostering a lethal combination of gratitude, jealousy, and resentment within its protagonist.
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.
For bipolar disorder, the most tried and true treatment—the most effective one—doesn’t come from a lab; it comes from stardust. It’s an element on the periodic table, atomic number 3.
There are uniquely white stories that all white people know intimately, and that we aren’t telling: stories of white people perpetrating racism.
What evolved from an unfinished novel manuscript, through a decades-long struggle with the legacy of Richard Wright, Henry James, and the white Lost Generation, are Baldwin’s 1956 and 1962 books as well as one of his most enduring insights into the struggle to end America’s innocence.
Poets, novelists, and artists of the Anthropocene are using their art to reveal the ties that bind us to that hazy concept of “nature,” and they often start with its most potent symbol, the tree—the embodiment of extreme strength and extreme vulnerability.
Carys Davies’ debut novel reveals that mythologies often arise from foolish beginnings but that the elevated stories that emerge are no less valuable.
The characters of Lara Williams’ and Margaret Atwood’s novels learn, eventually, to treat their love of food as a gift.