Author Archive

The Revealing Cultural Portrayal of Oligarchy

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Scarlett Thomas’s most recent novel, out in the United States this week after initial publication in 2019 in the United Kingdom, is both absurdism and reality pared to its core, just as the girls in the novel pare themselves pound by pound at their no-name, British girls boarding school.

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.

Reading, the Collective, and the Formation of the Self

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Yiyun Li transcends the individual through the way she focuses so singularly on the I, moments of aloneness, and solitary memories, rather than on feelings she has from shared memories. Yu Hua, too, transcends the individual, though he does so by offering his experience as a way of representing

“The characters in the novel are shameless about their bodies”: An Interview with K-Ming Chang

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Part myth, part bildungsroman, part queer love story with a lyric, fabulist delivery, Chang’s debut novel, out today, is a novel of the body—its mundane functions, its power to create life, the ways in which it decays—as well as what can be done to a body—by war, from domestic

Reading World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments

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Through her celebration of nature—and herself—Aimee Nezhukumatathil explores how it connects her to family and has played a role in building her own. Ultimately, she urges, we should wonder while we can, and do better to protect that which we can wonder at before we lose it completely.

The Trials of Migraineurs

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I can understand why Roland Barthes, like many others, may have second-guessed the veracity of his migraines, this extreme—invisible—pain. Even with the blinds drawn, lying on my bed with a cold washcloth across my forehead, I wonder if what I am feeling is real.

The Danger and Loneliness of Passing

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Brit Bennett’s recently published novel and Nella Larsen’s classic reveal the danger—and loneliness—of a black woman passing for white in the early 1900s and the 1990s. Passing affords the freedoms and opportunities for reinvention that whiteness allows for, but this comes at a terrible cost.

Girlhood and Desire in The Lightness

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The narrator of Emily Temple’s debut novel, Olivia, holds a deep desire to belong, to be loved, and to be touched—a desire that trumps her regard for safety, leading her to even give up her will to find her missing father.

“I Wanted to Create Some New Legends for Appalachian Women”: An Interview with Amy Jo Burns

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Burns’s new novel resurrects the experience of women in Appalachia rather than letting their stories be buried while their husbands’s live on.

Love, Liberation, and Empowerment in Godshot

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Chelsea Bieker’s debut novel, out today, feels familiar, devastating, like it has already happened, could, or might again. It’s the story, too, of motherhood in all its iterations, from abandonment to adoption, at the best of times and worst, and the moments, no matter how small, of love.