Author Archive

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s Prescient Apocalyptic Novel

Deeply depressed and living in a Europe ravaged by war, famine, and cholera, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley was inspired to write an eerily prescient novel chronicling the end of the world that manages somehow to be both bleak and hopeful. In the face of seemingly insurmountable tragedy, perhaps that is

“When you’re in the middle of it, you’re not necessarily doing the right thing or being the good character in a story”: An interview with Silvia Moreno-Garcia

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Set in 1971, just three years after the Mexican government massacred student protestors at Tlatelolco, Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s seventh novel follows a bored secretary and a member of the anti-communist paramilitary organization the Hawks as they both find themselves looking for a missing young woman.

Making Men and Myths in Mario Vargas Llosa’s The Storyteller

Storytelling is foundational to our concept of ourselves, with personal narratives—those we speak aloud and those we tell to only ourselves—defining the shape of our lives and casting us in various roles as circumstances demand: champion or victim, villain or avenger.

Sacredness in the In-Between

Sergio Troncoso has chosen to situate his latest anthology in an in-between place. Through fiction, poetry, and nonfiction by Mexican American authors, it explores families living along the U.S.-Mexico border and how being in the middle of worlds impacts their lives.

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.