Author Archive


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In wintering, can I retreat without completely dissociating from the world beyond the walls of my apartment? Katherine May, in her 2020 book of the same name, shows some ways of doing so.

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

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.

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.

Remembering the Future

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Since reading Natalia Ginzburg’s 1963 novel last year, I have wanted to identify and investigate my own family lexicon, the basis of our unity in the pressure of our semi-quarantine in a two-bedroom Brooklyn apartment with no yard and not much of a view.

Emptiness and Red Pill

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Discovering emptiness within himself while far from home, the unnamed narrator of Hari Kunzru’s latest novel falls under the influence of a champion of the alt-right and awakens—it seems—to a brutal reality. But this understanding of reality, too, turns out to be partial, provisional.

Good Morning, Midnight and the Failure of Our Daily “Programs”

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Reading Jean Rhys’s 1939 novel, I soon landed on the lazy word unlikeable to describe its protagonist. The moment the word arose in my mind, I was suspicious, but I found Sasha’s inability to make a place for herself in the world, even on the margins, exasperating.