Author Archive

Two Contemporary Retellings of The Playboy of the Western World

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
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

Author: | Categories: Book Reviews, Fiction No comments
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.

Two Boston Commons at Twilight

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
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

A Burning by Megha Majumdar

Author: | Categories: Book Reviews, Fiction No comments
Megha Majumdar’s debut novel forces us to see the inequities in the world, and the way desire for freedom is so often thwarted.

Whiteout Conditions by Tariq Shah

Author: | Categories: Book Reviews, Fiction No comments
In Tariq Shah’s debut novel, the protagonists finds a sliver of life in a world of death and, with that, a tiny bit of grace.

Oksana, Behave! and Olive, Again

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
New novels by Maria Kuznetsova and Elizabeth Strout, written in the form of chapter-length stories, give us the opportunity to see a great span of a life and to focus in on the moments that matter.

Last of Her Name by Mimi Lok

Author: | Categories: Book Reviews, Fiction No comments
In Mimi Lok’s debut story collection, the characters are linked in their sense of displacement and isolation, both connected to and separate from their families and their shared histories.

The Gone Dead by Chanelle Benz

Author: | Categories: Book Reviews, Fiction No comments
Chanelle Benz’s haunting debut novel interrogates memory, race, and the way that stories define our lives.

Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett

Author: | Categories: Book Reviews, Fiction No comments
In Kristen Arnett’s debut novel, the dead resemble the living, and the living seem to be on the brink of death.

Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips

Author: | Categories: Book Reviews, Fiction No comments
There is pleasure to be had in reading Julia Phillips’ debut novel, even in the midst of such grief and despair. Phillips is a beautiful, assured writer, one who knows how to create fully-developed characters, a marvelous sense of place, and a constant forward momentum.