Book Reviews Archive

Sensory Experiences in Nina Mingya Powles’s Magnolia木蘭

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Nina Mingya Powles’s newest collection is a sensory feast. Inviting readers into the spaces between language and culture, between country of birth and countries of origin, Powles paints the landscapes and histories that have shaped her.

Midwood’s Elevated Vantages

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There’s a special delight in Jana Prikryl’s concentration about what is outside her window, the changes from season to season, the repetitions, and what is rooted and roots us, if we allow it to do so. It’s both a poetic act, and a necessary one, especially in our fragmented

Young Love and Frenzied Obsession in Andrea Abreu’s Dogs of Summer

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In her debut novel, translated by Julia Sanches, Andrea Abreu writes a rapturous story about obsessive friendship, in the process providing an authentically complex portrayal of the desire of girls.

Sex and Satire in Wang Xiaobo’s Golden Age

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By using the language of the state to highlight the absurdity of their laws, Xiaobo made a satire that is both amusing and effective.

Temporality and Memory in The Man Who Could Move Clouds

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Rojas Contreras’s memoir intertwines family relationships and legacies, political conflicts and oppressions, and the expansive realm of healing, identity, and magic into a magnificent, mesmerizing memoir.

A Place to Call Home in Dele Weds Destiny

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Dele and Destiny are secondary characters in their own wedding story, and this is the beauty of the novel. The actual wedding is never about the couple. It’s about families coming together, about how love breaks us down, exposes the truth, and leads us to find ourselves.

Art and Autonomy in June Gervais’ Jobs for Girls with Artistic Flair

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June Gervais’s debut novel is a revealing portrait of making your way professionally and personally into adulthood. Gina realizes that her identity is untethered to an outside force such as her dream vocation—a truth some of us take a whole life to find out.

Distraction and Delight in Caio Fernando Abreu’s Moldy Strawberries

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Caio Fernando Abreu’s stories suggest that states of distraction are what allow desire to surface in the first place. They lie somewhere between fables with wry moral lessons and diary entries full of emotional impasses.

Facing the End of the World in Erin Swan’s Walk the Vanished Earth

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Swan acknowledges there will be more than fires and floods to wrestle with as the world ends. People will still fall in love and disappoint each other; children will still long for their mothers and their mothers will still try and fail to protect them.

Surreal and Ordinary Torture in Miguel Bonnefoy’s Heritage

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Miguel Bonnefoy’s prose successfully bears witness to the sheer madness of torture.