Critical Essays Archive
Munro raises questions about the relationship between two things that often coincide in writers: the first is a certain amount of self-indulgence and self-mythologizing; the second is the difficult work of putting aside the ego and observing the world.
Aden Grace Sawyer, the young white American woman inspired by John Walker Lindh who leads John Wray’s latest novel, is on a mission from God.
What do we learn from new depictions of brutalized bodies in literature?
Christmas calls the sisters of Louisa May Alcott’s novel to reflect on their bonds with each other and their parents, and on the kinds of lives they want to lead.
With the indefinite article “a,” Dickens seems to declare that the story is not about a carol, but is, instead, itself a Christmas carol: a song for the season.
The Great Dane in Sigrid Nunez’s acclaimed novel embodies grief itself—a presence that comes uninvited, demands attention, disrupts routine, behaves inscrutably, and holds the power of ferocity and tenderness at once.
In Fatimah Asghar’s acclaimed 2018 debut, the past is the present is the future. History, particularly the traumatic history of diaspora, echoes deafeningly through the narrator’s present-day pain, joy, oppression, and affirmation.
Poetry reading isn’t increasing because people are rediscovering Edna St. Vincent Millay or Robert Hayden, though rediscoveries may be a happy byproduct of readers’ increased exposure to living writers.
Lilliet Berne, the orphan turned courtesan turned opera star who serves as the protagonist of Alexander Chee’s 2016 novel, embodies the complicated interchange of power and weakness that accompanies a woman’s silence.
Natalia Ginzburg’s 1963 novel is a record of a lost world and a lost way of life. Its insistently domestic narrative style, in its humanizing particularity, is also an act of resistance against the ascendant totalitarian ideologies looming over its characters’ lives.