Work, Love, and Partnership in Tove Jansson’s Fair Play

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Jansson’s 1989 novel serves as a particularly poignant antithesis of the “loner artist” narrative, dealing instead with a loving partnership that, rather than getting in the way of artistic work, lifts and expands it.

Black is the Body: Stories from My Grandmother’s Time, My Mother’s Time, And Mine by Emily Bernard

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Emily Bernard writes she is "most interested in blackness at its borders, where it meets whiteness, in fear and hope, in anguish and love." She examines this intersection closely, with her own life as a case study, to see where the pieces fit together neatly, and where their edges

The Criminal State in Austin Reed’s The Life and the Adventures of a Haunted Convict

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Austin Reed’s 1858 book evades generic stability, blending memoir with picaresque, bildungsroman, jeremiad, and others to reveal the injustice of the justice system and the perpetuation of a criminal cycle as enforced by a racist state.

The Messiness of Resistance

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Fumiko Enchi’s 1958 novel, 女面, grapples with women’s rage within a system that is structured to work against them, as well as the ways some women perform what is expected of them in order to usurp the system itself—with messy consequences.

Sparkling and Shade in Soniah Kamal’s Unmarriageable

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In taking pains to detail both the glittering weddings and the modern questions that lie, unanswered, beneath those elite celebrations, Soniah Kamal’s new novel strives to show us a complicated social status.

Death in Literature: Predicted, Quantum, and All-Too-Human

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Literature, as a territory of creative speculation, appears especially attuned to tracking our ever-evolving relationship to death and its consequences on how we lead our lives, how we relate to others, and how we cultivate any sort of moral compass.

Obsession and Celebrity in Laura Sims’ Looker

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Laura Sims’ first novel considers what happens when infatuation, driven by depression and society’s subtly crushing expectations, is given room to fester into something closer to violent obsession.

The Secret History’s Fates, Allusions, and Tragedies

By making her first novel’s characters classicists, Donna Tartt lets us in on the trick: that this book is, in essence, a modern day Greek tragedy.

Finding the Words to Speak of War

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Pamela Hart’s latest poetry collection asks: for all that is undisclosed in the context of war, what can be spoken, and how well can the spoken encompass what war does to families and communities?

Speaking Against Silence

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Much like 2018’s pop feminist anthems, the speaker of Louise Glück’s “Mock Orange” makes an analogy between the scent of mock orange flowers and the “false union” of sexual intercourse to suggest that her true sexual experiences reflect objectification and domination rather than genuine pleasure.