Author Archive

A Loving, Faithful Animal’s Story of a Scar

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When viewing Josephine Rowe’s 2016 novel through the perspective of faltering chronology and layered trauma mimicking scar tissue, a fuller sense of its compassion and artistry falls into place.

The Queer Power of Fairy Tales

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In a country in which “fairy tales predetermine reality,” the protagonist of Katya Kazbek’s new novel’s re-creation of a folk tale allows him to engineer his queer liberation.

In Defense of Comfort

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Two “women’s” novels by Stella Gibbons and Dodie Smith, from 1932 and 1948 respectively, quietly pose the suggestion that to be concerned with comfort is not shallow, but merely practical, and that taking control of your surroundings, either forcefully or with empathy, can lead to self-actualization.

Unmaking the Myth of Ian Curtis

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Deborah Curtis’s biography-cum-memoir moves beyond pop culture mythmaking, in the process creating the connection Joy Division’s music reaches for but is never able to grasp.

The Confessions of Frannie Langton’s Complication of the Gothic Voice

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Sara Collins’s 2019 novel tests and even breaks the boundaries of the gothic voice, showing that a heroine standing on the outside of literary tradition can still inhabit the gothic and push it to new and provocative directions.

“All memoirists are the narrator and the character at once”: An Interview with Lilly Dancyger

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Lilly Dancyger’s just-released mixed media memoir is a story of two artists, forever separated, and the history and symbols that provide an artistic shorthand able to move past the boundaries of shared experiences and meet again.

This Land Made You

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Melissa Faliveno’s 2020 essay collection’s genius, and tenderness, comes from a deep understanding of the language of home: the haunting, often unacknowledged pull place has on us, and how leaning towards and pushing against this pull shapes our identities.

Enduring Love

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Betsy Bonner’s new memoir offers no solutions for the gap between the idea of unconditional love and limited human experience. Less an exorcism than a tribute, it strives to make every stylistic quirk mirror the halting but deeply-felt contours of her relationship with her sister.

Our Lady of the Floss

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Never losing sight of the sensibilities that make the protagonist of her 1860 novel fallibly, achingly human, George Eliot also venerates Maggie Tulliver’s passions and feelings, suggesting that the path to virtue may not lie in rigidity and conventional moralism, but in the volatile, messy outpourings of the human

Meeting and Making Heroes

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Jenn Shapland’s lyrical debut demonstrates how she has been made by, and has remade, her hero Carson McCullers—and how this relationship between writer and subject is at the heart of every biography, and every memoir.