Author Archive

Beasts of a Little Land’s Exploration of Survival

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Juhea Kim’s debut novel tells about the years of Japanese rule in Korea—years of sometimes brutal oppression, starvation, and resistance—and its demise and aftermath. Through the novel’s omniscient third-person narrator, we see what each of these characters is willing to risk or sacrifice, whether for survival or some other

Storytelling in New York, My Village

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Uwem Akpan’s story of an Annang narrator working in the “white bubble” of New York publishing is a story about storytelling—and not just the stories that make it past the gatekeepers to publication, but also the stories that are passed along in the conversations, letters, phone calls, photographs, and

Katie Kitamura’s Explorations of Separation

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Katie Kitamura’s most recent novels are like mirror images: though their titles suggest that their subjects are opposing themes—separation in one and intimacy in the other—both novels show how our lives are bound up in the lives of others, including those from whom we wish to separate.

Edge Case’s Exploration of Our “True” Nature

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YZ Chin’s debut novel, which includes tales of past lives and accounts for the apparently radical transformations of both the narrator and her husband, suggests that our nature is neither fixed nor fathomable.

Late Summer’s Exploration of the Past

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From the beginning to the end of the novel, Luiz Ruffato gives us a moment-by-moment account of his protagonist’s activities, thoughts, and feelings—a stream-of-consciousness narrative in which, as the novel progresses, the character’s memories of the past become more and more prominent.

Authorship and Betrayal in To Write As If Already Dead

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Given its fragmented structure, intertextuality, quotations from and reflections on correspondences, and inclusion of the narrative of a pregnancy, Kate Zambreno’s newest book feels like a “library of the mind,” encompassing texts on reading, writing, authorship, friendship, betrayal, the body, birth, and death.

States of Refusal in How to Do Nothing and Housekeeping

“Fourteen years ago I left my job at a publicly traded company and began life as a freelancer. In all these years I have been trying to get to what Jenny Odell calls the ‘third space,’ an arena of both participation in and resistance to society.”

Seeing Jenny in Why Didn’t You Just Do What You Were Told?

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The pleasure of reading Jenny Diski’s essays is in spending time with her persona—opinionated, funny, and endlessly curious. How can there be an end in wanting to know about Diski, her subjects, or any other example of what it is to be a human in this world?

The Dangerous Age’s Repudiation of the Marriage Plot

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Women are often confined in stories to “erotic narratives” that generally lead to the altar; menopause marks the end of the tale. This plight for a woman in mid-life is evident in the enactment and repudiation of the marriage plot in Karin Michaëlis’s 1910 novel.

In the Company of Men’s Long View of History

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To take the long view of history is to find company with our ancestors. In Véronique Tadjo’s 2017 novel, available today in English, it is “Baobab, the first tree, the everlasting tree, the totem tree” that sees humanity from this perspective.