Author Archive

Incomprehensible and Ungraspable

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
“When I was a teacher, death always lingered in the back of my mind.”

The Artful Arrangement of 300 Arguments, Heating & Cooling, and The Crying Book

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Sarah Manguso, Beth Ann Fennelly, and Heather Christle show that what may at first look like fragments are instead distillations of memories, emotions, and experience—made stronger by their brevity and turned into something whole through their painstaking arrangement.

A Woman’s Conviction in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and 500 Days of Summer

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Summer, Helena, and Hermia hold fast to their own definitions of love, even in the face of men who refuse and ignore them.

Betrayal in Rainbow Rainbow

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
In their debut short story collection, Lydia Conklin examines what it’s like to inhabit a body and/or sexuality that is inherently uncomfortable—not because of one’s certainty about their identity but because of how others reject or suppress it.

“Grief with animals isn’t the same, and we can learn something from that”: An Interview with Annie Hartnett

Author: | Categories: Interviews No comments
By combining the voices of the dead with the experiences of the living, Annie Hartnett builds a sense of community. Her characters are not navigating hardships in isolation but with the support of family and friends, animals and the dead.

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

Author: | Categories: Interviews No comments
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.

Memory and Transformation in Aurelia, Aurélia

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Kathryn Davis’s new memoir explores memory as something formative—something that begins as a static point then transitions into something alive, yielding something new, remembering becoming an experience in its own right.

Morphine’s Resonant Portrayal of Addiction

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
If one were to substitute “opioid” for “morphine,” Mikhail Bulgakov’s 1926 novella feels like it could have been written yesterday. Reading it is thus nearly unbearable: it asks us to look at how little perception and treatment of substance use disorder has changed over the course of a hundred

Mundanity Among Tragedy in How High We Go in the Dark

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Published two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, Sequoia Nagamatsu’s debut novel is in some ways comforting, and in others a brutal reflection of our current moment. Through the course of the tragedies and mundanities explored within, every facet of every person’s life is altered; Nagamatsu explores how people handle

The Singular Character of Tolstoy’s Alyosha

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Tolstoy’s treatment of Alyosha may cross over into objectification, but what makes Alyosha a singular character is the way in which he evades being objectified, something that can only be found when Alyosha’s feelings slip through how his father and master view and treat him.