Author Archive

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.

Who Decides the Mysterious Standard of Beauty?

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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

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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

How Two Young Black Poets Are Making Sense of the World

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The art of literacy may not be aggressive, but as Madison Petaway and Akilah Toney, two poets included in a recent New York Times feature, show, it can be assertive, assured, and bold.

Possession and Loss in Gone to the Forest

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The fictional, nameless nation in Katie Kitamura’s 2012 novel is a country of men obsessed with possession. They care to possess land, money, women. What use these things might be to them is hardly of any interest. The main thing is to own them, to overpower them, and only

Nature Prevails in Ruthie Fear

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Maxim Loskutoff’s new novel, out tomorrow, is an exploration of man’s complicated relationship with the highest form of authority—nature.

Untold Stories in Last Call on Decatur Street

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Iris Martin Cohen’s new novel is a reflection, a condemnation, and a compassionate call to action; it is the story of how we can start to open our eyes to see better and do better.

Black Boyhood, Black Fear

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When I first read Kiese Laymon’s “City Summer, Country Summer” essay, it seemed a sweet, nostalgic comparison of Black culture in New York City to Mississippi. On second read, however, I saw that what united the two boys within was more than their age or the color of their

Emma Cline’s Fairy Tale Gone Wrong

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To Cline’s Evie, a young girl whose parents are too preoccupied with their respective post-divorce transformations to truly see her and support her, leaving the mild, mind-numbing safety of her small-town and stepping onto a cult leader’s ranch is like stepping into a fairy tale world.

Reading The Book of Men

Nano Shabtai’s 2015 book feels especially personal to me. For the past three years, I’ve been working on a memoir about how the world of relationships is experienced through the eyes of a woman who is often troubled by sex but has been instructed her entire life to prioritize