In his new novel, Viet Thanh Nguyen does not allow the reader to forget that fiction traffics in truth.
Three recent books by poets Valzhyna Mort, Eduardo C. Corral, and Claudia Rankine examine state violence by using violence’s signatures––repetition and accretion––as tools within the text. In these works, post-Chernobyl Belarus, barren American border landscapes, and the minefields of everyday social interactions are scrutinized, again and again.
The protagonists of recent novels by Raven Leilani and Xiaolu Guo dwell on a cross-racial gaze, othering the white men who are the objects of their physical affections. In this, they attempt to reverse the gazes of centuries by paying an anthropological attention to their partners’ bodies, speech, and