Author Archive

In Defense of Comfort

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
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

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
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

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
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

Author: | Categories: Interviews No comments
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

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
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

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
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.

Meeting and Making Heroes

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
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.

Appalachia from the Outside

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
In taking on the Rainbow Murders in her new memoir, Emma Copley Eisenberg also takes responsibility for presenting a clearer picture of Appalachia—a balance that is particularly difficult to achieve when discussing the killing of two young women.