Author Archive

The Dark Depths of Motherhood in Love Me Back

Merritt Tierce’s 2014 novel is a beautiful and honest portrait of a young mother. It is also dark and disturbing, and is as much about punishment as it is about motherhood, and how the two intertwine.

The Soul of a City with No Soul

Las Vegas is a feat of tremendous sleight of hand. What Diofebi shows in his debut novel, out this week, is all the thousands of machinations happening in the background, producing what is ultimately a glorious illusion.

Reading Rilke in Lockdown

I’ve found myself turning to Rainer Maria Rilke’s poems again and again over the last year, his words giving me space to release myself from the prison of my own feelings, and offer an alternative, even curative, way to live in the world.

Fear and Selfishness in The Dangers of Smoking in Bed

In Mariana Enriquez’s most recently translated story collection, people are afraid: afraid of poverty, afraid of solitude, afraid of confronting the grotesqueness of their own mistakes. One of the strings binding the collection is that again and again fear pushes the characters into committing craven acts of selfishness.

Finding Shape in an Indifferent Universe

While some critics dismiss fractals as faddish or overly applied, they do offer a compelling vision of a natural world governed by order, pattern, and predictable expansion. And envisioning the world as an organized and predictable place feels mighty tempting.

Contemplating Infinity

Hilary Leichter’s debut novel is a shifting, surrealist tale of a young woman’s search for permanent employment that deftly captures the anguish of living inside such existential uncertainty, and more terrifying, the potential infinity of it.