“We are both the colonized and the colonizers”: An Interview with Paisley Rekdal

Author: | Categories: Interviews No comments
In her recently published book, Paisley Rekdal argues that, in accepting our dual condition, the adventurous artist, regardless of race or other identity, must be willing to brave criticism; she insists that all creative writers, both fledgling and veteran, search within to find their own ethics of literary invention.

The Power of Sentences

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Louise Erdrich’s new novel is a persistent implicit commentary on the importance of words—and the communities forged by words—in the face of the traumas that haunt individual and collective lives.

Fiction of the Shopping Mall

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
We already know that consumer goods are not the stuff of human happiness. And yet, stories by Carmen Maria Machado, Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, and Aimee Bender underline this reality while also rendering it more complex, interrogating the ways in which we can and cannot resist capitalism and its cruelties.

The Meaning of Parenting in Alistair MacLeod’s “The Boat”

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
We are often blind to the disparity between the behavior we instruct and the behavior we model for our children. But even more nuanced are the differences between the behaviors we try to emphasize—our aspirational behaviors—and the ones we try to downplay, which are often even more prominent.

The Horror of Circumstance in Bora Chung’s Cursed Bunny

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Helplessness or bewilderment is common to many of the characters in Chung’s stories; they are like characters caught in a bad dream from which there is no waking, and in which the interdependence of living things is experienced as horror.

Tokyo Ueno Station’s Anti-Stereotypical Portrayal of Homelessness

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Yu Miri directly tackles homelessness in Japan in her 2014 novel, focusing on the memories and reflections of the ghost of a homeless migrant manual laborer, Kazu, as he wanders through the titular park, which had been his home.

The Dangerous Age’s Repudiation of the Marriage Plot

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Women are often confined in stories to “erotic narratives” that generally lead to the altar; menopause marks the end of the tale. This plight for a woman in mid-life is evident in the enactment and repudiation of the marriage plot in Karin Michaëlis’s 1910 novel.

The Joy of Reading Slowly

Author: | Categories: Personal Essays No comments
I have become a far better reader over the last year and a half because of learning how to read more slowly. Perhaps most importantly, though, I once again love to read.

The Plague of Structural Inequity in The Fall of the House of Usher

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
It is not simply that wealth makes escape from pandemic at least (somewhat) possible. It is Poe and Flannagan's understanding of the structural nature of the violent intersection of class privilege and disease.

The Unmemntioable’s Exploration of the Sublime

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
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.