Author Archive

The Creation of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Despite the memoir’s rigorous production method, Jean-Dominique Bauby’s mind wanders throughout the book, resulting in the vivid connection between his present and his past.

Death as a Narrator in Assaf Schurr’s Thus Spoke Vincent, the Stupid Cat

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Vincent the dead cat is a wake-up call in Assaf Schurr’s ten-year-old novel, much like a god or a guiding hand pushing the plot along. He speaks inconvenient truths and appears to be omniscient, at least when it comes to the secret lives of the book’s characters.

Death as the Villain in Pet Sematary

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Beneath the waking nightmares, reanimated children, and mythological Wendigo, Stephen King’s 1983 novel is about a fundamental and universal experience: grief and the fear of death.

Fox & I and the Power of Unusual Friendships

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Catherine Raven’s friendship with a fox that wanders onto her property highlights the challenges she’s struggled with for years—an urge to isolate in a world that celebrates civilization, a belief in magic in a world of scientific inquiry, and a strong intuition that what is most common isn’t necessarily

The Lingering Effects of Trauma in A Chronology of Water, Something Disguised as Love, and Smadar

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Our new understanding of how trauma lingers inside and outside of the body has expanded to include not only relationships between peers of the same age group, but seems to have grown over time to include a discussion of how adults teach children about their place in the world,

A Family of Strangers in The Arsonists’ City

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Behind the straightforward family disagreement that underpins Hala Alyan’s new novel lies all the complications, subtleties, and dishonesties upon which families are founded, along with the fears, longings, and displacement more particular to immigrant households.

Othering and Empathy in Such a Fun Age

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Kiley Reid’s debut novel delicately and insightfully examines the naiveté and smugness exhibited by people who consider themselves allies yet only understand how to speak and behave as allies in times of clear and immediate strife—and who, even then, are only familiar with the performative aspects of the task.

The Act of Making a Home in Severance

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Ling Ma’s 2018 novel is a story about what it means to make a life when one has been removed—whether willingly or by force—from one’s familiar surroundings, and the faith and perseverance required in order to call a new place home.

Who Decides the Mysterious Standard of Beauty?

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Daniel Oz’s flash fable “Beauty Sleep” and Yonit Naaman’s prose poem “That’s What I Want” explore the challenge of overcoming the elusive, patriarchal standard of beauty.

Alice Sheldon’s Unveiling of Humanity

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
In “The Girl Who Was Plugged In,” a futuristic society has found a loophole in a law forbidding commercial advertisements—the use of “gods,” young, beautiful, pre-programmed, and mechanically-engineered celebrities whose lives are a series of opportunities for product placement. In this world, where perfection has been manufactured, the flawed