Author Archive

The Shape of Nations

One cannot simply outgrow or outlive a colonial, racist history. In order for the system to change, we need to stare at it and acknowledge it for what it is.

Reading Black Marks on the White Page

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This Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage month, Julia Shiota turns to Witi Ihimaera and Tina Makereti’s 2017 anthology, which makes clear that those who identify as Pacific Islander come from a wide array of places and experiences.

The Deft Characterization of Starling Days

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While Rowan Hisayo Buchanan’s latest novel includes living with mental illness as a central theme, it, more importantly, presents a picture of how human beings—whatever the disposition of their brains—try to make sense of what they are experiencing to the best of their abilities.

The Many Voices of Memory in The Magical Language of Others

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While a memoir can often feel myopic or even self-indulgent, Koh’s presents clearly the truth that is tucked between the pages of all memoirs—that all of us are pieced together by a multitude of stories told to us and that we, in turn, tell to others.

Reading Annihilation

The first book in Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy does not balk at the sheer futility of humanity in the face of natural forces, but it doesn’t wholly destroy all who enter it, either. Instead, it returns readers to the sublime aspect of nature—the understanding that it can be

Reading The Paper Menagerie

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Ken Liu’s 2011 collection includes a wide array of stories, ranging in style from speculative to science fiction to magical realism; it’s also a prime example of a work that shifts focus away from genre tropes and allows the reader to see what these stories look like through a

Belonging and Paris Stories

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While the stories in Mavis Gallant’s 2002 collection don’t always center on Paris, a number of the characters have some sort of imagined relationship to the city, using it as a stand-in for their own lack of belonging.

The Humanity of True Crime’s Victims

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In two books, Maggie Nelson manages to recount the murder of her aunt, Jane, in terms that don’t elide the true horror of the situation, while keeping Jane’s voice firmly centered for readers.

The Failure of Familial Communication in Happiness, as Such

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Natalia Ginzburg presents a family’s dysfunction as an engrossing emotional rollercoaster, yet manages to make her story both haunting and deeply human.

The Desire of Girls in Machine

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Rather than being a juvenile or simplistic depiction of desire as purely a physical impulse for the adolescent narrator, Susan Steinberg’s first novel presents desire in the mind of an adolescent girl as a larger force, one that is as much existential as it is universal.