Meeting and Making Heroes

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Jenn Shapland’s lyrical debut demonstrates how she has been made by, and has remade, her hero Carson McCullers—and how this relationship between writer and subject is at the heart of every biography, and every memoir.

Quotients by Tracy O’Neill

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Does information protect or imprison us? Tracy O’Neill’s highly-anticipated second novel—part suspense story, part relationship drama and part commentary on the perils of our interconnected epoch—explores a world in which the truth is hard to determine, and even harder to prove.

The Spatialization of Fiction

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Spatial conflicts and curiosities (the lighthearted call to the open road, for example) can undergird the entire momentum and tone of a novel. Without knowing a character’s place in the world, it’s challenging to gather the full context of their decisions.

Compact Spaces and Relationships in Howards End and On Beauty

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E.M. Forster’s novel is deeply concerned with compactly contained relationships, as well as the ideas and spaces that forge these connections. Zadie Smith’s modern-day retelling explores similarly contained personal relationships with a significant update: the book is set on a college campus.

“I Wanted to Create Some New Legends for Appalachian Women”: An Interview with Amy Jo Burns

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Burns’s new novel resurrects the experience of women in Appalachia rather than letting their stories be buried while their husbands’s live on.

Reading The Book of Men

Nano Shabtai’s 2015 book feels especially personal to me. For the past three years, I’ve been working on a memoir about how the world of relationships is experienced through the eyes of a woman who is often troubled by sex but has been instructed her entire life to prioritize

Cockfight by María Fernanda Ampuero

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Ampuero enters into critical dialogue with form and substance. Combining structures reminiscent of fairy tales and horror films, Ampuero upends these conventions by reversing tropes and decentering the male gaze.

Hilary Mantel’s Tudor Mirror

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The final book in Mantel’s award-winning trilogy completes the suggestion that time is the mirror in which we see ourselves, and that the uncertain reflections we cast change according to the source and quality of the light.

“I think writers should write exactly as they please”: An Interview with Kathryn Scanlan

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Scanlan’s new collection challenges literary norms, making a story do more than perhaps we previously thought possible.

The Language of Domestic Violence

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Rachel Louise Snyder’s 2019 book demonstrates how even imperfect language can be powerful and why word choice is especially important when speaking about this complicated crime.