Sensory Experiences in Nina Mingya Powles’s Magnolia木蘭

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Nina Mingya Powles’s newest collection is a sensory feast. Inviting readers into the spaces between language and culture, between country of birth and countries of origin, Powles paints the landscapes and histories that have shaped her.

Dreadful Sorry’s Exploration of American Nostalgia

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Dispelling the haze of American nostalgia matters, and Jennifer Niesslein shows how it can be done, particularly by those of us who are white—and that, after it is stripped of sentimentality, nostalgia can be a force that drives us to make a beloved place better.

Incomprehensible and Ungraspable

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“When I was a teacher, death always lingered in the back of my mind.”

Pioneer Days

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Willa Cather’s 1913 novel provides a vision of America that is at once familiar and completely foreign. As the novel revels in scenes of natural beauty and “simpler” times, it also warns us that such idealized visions of America were dangerous and violent all along.

Time’s Arrow and the Stories We Tell Ourselves

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Martin Amis’ 1991 novel is principally a story about ideology, but it is also a story about denial, and the lengths we will go to justify our own hateful actions.

Midwood’s Elevated Vantages

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There’s a special delight in Jana Prikryl’s concentration about what is outside her window, the changes from season to season, the repetitions, and what is rooted and roots us, if we allow it to do so. It’s both a poetic act, and a necessary one, especially in our fragmented

Abstraction and Legacy in Bluebeard and So Much Blue

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In filling his 2017 novel with similarities to Kurt Vonnegut’s 1987 work, Percival Everett initiates a dialogue on abstract art.

Realism and the Weird in “The Yellow Wallpaper” and “The Story We Used to Tell”

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When read together, Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s tale reveals the realism peeking behind the frame of Shirley Jackson’s, and Jackson’s short story illuminates the otherworldly horror plaguing the narrator of Perkins Gilman’s.

Isolation and The Wild Hunt

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Emma Seckel wields multiple strategies of constraint to expand her novel’s speculative possibilities and, most importantly, establish a thoroughly compelling set of character relationships that infuse the supernatural stakes with organic urgency.

Human Blues and Reproductive Self-Determination

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Elisa Albert’s new novel is a potent reminder that the body and the voice are inseparable, and that both demand autonomy.