Author Archive

Perspective in The Dark

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In John McGahern’s 1965 novel, the point-of-view changes from first-person to second person to third person to no point of view at all. As the point of view shifts, the narrator seems to be seeing himself through different lenses, just as he is redefining himself through his choices.

Reading Deesha Philyaw’s “Peach Cobbler”

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In “Peach Cobbler,” Deesha Philyaw manages a long stretch of time by tracking her protagonist’s relationship to an object. Writing sensually about peach cobbler, Philyaw draws the reader into the story: we are there, smelling the peaches and sugar and cinnamon, as Olivia develops from a girl into a

The Physical and the Emotional in God’s Children Are Little Broken Things

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The way that Arinze Ifeakandu chooses to depict a character’s world, seen through their eyes, also reflects their emotional landscape. It is a subtle and beautiful way to portray his characters, to allow us to truly understand how they feel.

Julie Otsuka’s Layered Points of View

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Julie Otsuka’s new novel is divided into five chapters, three written in the first-person plural perspective and two in the second-person; the novel examines dementia, familial relationships, and the friction between the collective and the individual, using the shifts in point-of-view to marry form to content.

Sara Lippmann’s Turns in Jerks

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Even though the characters in Sara Lippmann’s second story collection are often stuck in their lives, a sense of life, of possibility, of creation, runs throughout the book, uniting its stories as one. Lippmann focuses on the unexpected and on the surprising in order to focus on life.

The Search for Home in Away to Stay

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Mary Kuryla’s debut is a coming-of-age novel, a story about a girl slowly finding her way—though in this case, the narrative is turned upside down: Olya finds a home rather than leaves one.

Love and Loss in You Never Get It Back

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Cara Blue Adams skillfully deploys the direct address in her 2021 collection. The love and loss that is examined throughout is heightened by this craft choice; the narrative arc that is created through its use underscores the narrative arc of the collection and carries the reader through the book

The Ebb and Flow of Women’s Friendships in Fiona and Jane

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Jean Chen Ho’s wonderful debut is a book that is built on memory, a book that speaks to the importance and difficulties and richness of friendship between women over time, a book that braids its form and content together to create meaning.

Two Boston Commons at Twilight

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Susan Minot’s story “Boston Common at Twilight” shares its title with a Childe Hassam painting. Although the former does not directly mention the latter, there are many ways that the works are linked, and seeing these connections underscores the themes that run through the story and allows the viewer

The Joy of Reading Slowly

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I have become a far better reader over the last year and a half because of learning how to read more slowly. Perhaps most importantly, though, I once again love to read.