Author Archive

Life and Death in Today a Woman Went Mad in the Supermarket

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Hilma Wolitzer’s new story collection is brimming with life and humor, and yet death is ever-present, leading the book forward to its final, inevitable conclusion.

Dybek, Shalamov, and Condensed Milk

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The transformation of milk into preserved milk is a magic trick of sorts, a way to extend the life of a perishable product. Although in very different ways, Varlam Shalamov’s “Condensed Milk” and Stuart Dybek’s “Pet Milk” are interested in considering man’s ability to do the same.

The Transfer of Power in The Lying Life of Adults

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Elena Ferrante often uses objects in her fiction to explore relationships and time, but she also uses them as objective correlatives; while the bracelet in her 2019 novel serves as a way to move the reader through the plot, it is also clearly identified as an object, one that

The Parallel Narrative Arc in Memorial

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In Bryan Washington’s first novel, photos are used, in part, to consider how we use images to communicate. They also work together to create a narrative arc that echoes the arc of the book itself.

Reading Two Groff Companion Pieces

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Two of Lauren Groff’s recent stories share an interest: exploring the relationship between domestic violence and masculinity. Each story acts as a mirror for the other, the differences often pointing up the similarities and allowing the two pieces to connect in subtle and nuanced ways.

The Bass Rock’s Layered Use of Setting

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The use of place in Evie Wyld’s third novel underscores the constant nature of violence against women—that unchanging and immoveable landscape—and yet the capacity for women to band together in order to fight back shows that there may, indeed, be better days ahead.

The Tradition of Storytelling in Something Unbelievable

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Over the course of Maria Kuznetsova’s second novel, out next week, we switch back and forth between the perspectives of a woman and her grandmother. In the process, we begin to understand how tightly the two women are connected, even as the lives they live are vastly different, and

Reading William Trevor’s “A Day” and Jamel Brinkley’s “Comfort”

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Brinkley’s story, written in response to Trevor’s, echoes the latter’s plot, characters, and structure, but in capturing its tone—a gentleness and a very light touch—the story transcends the original, its ending resonating with meaning.

Two Contemporary Retellings of The Playboy of the Western World

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John Millington Synge’s 1907 play is now a classic, examining, among other elements, the definition of a hero and the role of the community in that definition. Over a hundred years later, two contemporary novels, both set following the 2008 financial crisis, echo it in numerous ways.

Milk Blood Heat by Dantiel Moniz

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In this debut story collection, the reader feels the story in their body as they read; Moniz makes us look directly at the source of trauma in order to share the pain.