Author Archive

The Meaning of Food in Eat Joy

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In this 2019 anthology, Natalie Eve Garrett collects short essays by 31 different writers, each with a recipe linked to it. The essays reveal how foods hold the shape of memories and people and places, nourishment intertwined with the forces that shaped it.

The Double’s Extreme Break

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What makes Fyodor Dostoevsky’s second novel so painful is the extreme tactic he uses to “penetrat[e] into the depths of the normal human soul,” as translator Richard Pevear observes, and the dramatic shift in character that tactic evokes.

The Social Constructs of Womanhood in I Love You but I’ve Chosen Darkness

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The protagonist of Claire Vaye Watkins’s new novel refuses to perform motherhood, wifedom, and womanhood within the strictures of these words. But her refusal calls into question her very character, in others’ eyes and sometimes also her own. If she doesn’t fulfil these roles, what is she?

The Power of Women in Matrix

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The protagonist of Lauren Groff’s new novel, Marie, watches her mother, grandmother, aunts, and queen exercise power before finally learning to wield it herself. Despite the book’s setting in medieval times, Marie’s plight feels similar to how women must take and assert power even now.

“I’ve always been drawn to writing about the body—our physical selves and how they reflect our inner lives”: An Interview with Kat Chow

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Kat Chow’s debut memoir is very much about bodies. In it, Chow considers what could have been—not just in her life but in the generations before—particularly as what could have been relates to bodies and the ways in which they betray in life, as well as where they rest

The Foreboding Landscape in The Impudent Ones

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In her debut novel, Marguerite Duras builds a visceral sense of foreboding through the beautiful and unnerving landscapes in the life of protagonist Maud Grant, who is both captivated by the land around her, and often swiftly shut off from it.

The Heartbreak of Bewilderness

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Karen Tucker’s new novel vividly captures the opioid epidemic that has exploded across the nation, while reinforcing the humanity of people with substance use disorder and demonstrating how wrong blaming individuals for their illness is. In the end, blame will not save you from a broken heart.

We Wish You Luck’s Writerly Campus Novel

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There is something thrilling about a campus novel, the way its borders close around a defined perimeter and an alluring clique. Caroline Zancan’s entry to the genre, set at a premier low-residency MFA program, pushes the campus novel into such an academic, writerly realm that it takes on the

The Many Narrative Layers of White Magic

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In her new collection, out this week, Elissa Washuta builds essays that repudiate traditional structures, layering her own stories on existing forms as a means to examine the traumatic, defining moments of her life.

“Girlhood is a much darker, more complex—more amazing—experience than what that association suggests”: An Interview with Melissa Febos

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The essays of Febos’s new essay collection read less like a coming-of-age story than they do like a manifesto of all the ways girlhood takes a toll on a girl’s life, as well as of the cultural experience of being a woman.