Asian American Inscrutability in Joan is Okay

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Like Weike Wang’s vision of fiction, in grief Joan discovers that inscrutability can be possibility itself.

Either/Or’s Aesthetic Questioning

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In Elif Batuman’s new novel, Selin is trying to figure out how to narrate love, how to make it make narrative sense; on the way, she figures out what love and novels have to do with each other.

The Pleas of Green: Sighs of Our Ailing Planet

Niyi Osundare’s newest collection of poetry lets the earth speak. He shows us how the planet is ailing via the direct address and the personification of the environment, forcing us to consider how we might help protect Earth from those who are killing it.

The Maternal Gothic and Maternal Ambition

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"Now in my second pregnancy, I am turning to fiction, in particular a spate of recently published novels that portray the challenges of the postpartum period and early motherhood, to make sense of my attempts to hold together the identities of writer and mother."

The Remarkable Staying Power of Hisaye Yamamoto’s Seventeen Syllables

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Perhaps what is most striking about Hisaye Yamamoto’s stories is how easily they could be written by a Japanese American author today, though many of them were written over fifty years ago, so focused are they on issues of race and the gendered expectations of women that still exist.

Women and Violence in Maria Dahvana Headley’s Beowulf

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Maria Dahvana Headley’s 2020 Beowulf translation works to center the lives and voices of women—a move that dramatically changes its handling of violence and trauma.

“In memoir writing, vulnerability is the highest rigor”: An Interview with Putsata Reang

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Putsata Reang’s new memoir delves into the realization that many of her greatest struggles are rooted in the past, under the weight of inherited trauma and filial duty. Even so, Reang unshackles herself from family history and forges an identity of her own.

The Unmemntioable’s Exploration of the Sublime

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In Erín Moure’s 2012 collection, she spreads the ashes of her mother, who was subject to the abject violence that took place during World War II, in a village near the Davydivka River in what is now present-day Ukraine. The word “tragedy” feels inadequate to describe these experiences.

Preparation for the Next Life’s Accumulation of Stories

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Atticus Lish’s 2014 novel is a book with many stories piled up inside it, its personalities, with their long and painful histories, bumping and crashing into each other in the present. It is a love story that rarely uses the word love.

Photography’s Eternal Returns

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Do photographs of war provide some intervention into the violence they depict? If they do not stop violence, what purpose do they serve? These two questions are at the heart of recent work by Teju Cole and older work by Susan Sontag.