Author Archive

Acceptance in Love

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Books by Sally Rooney, Anat Levit, and Daniel Sloss show us how to triumph over tension in relationships: rather than be at war with each other’s pet peeves, lovers share the pain—and perhaps a laugh—when admitting that love is anything but simple.

Anger and Empathy in A Complicated Kindness

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Miriam Toews’s 2004 novel explores layers of trauma in a Mennonite community, but the most striking, heartbreaking thing about this book is the moments of grace that Toews identifies within the pain.

The Creation of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.