Book Reviews Archive

Displacements and Digressions in Saša Stanišić’s Where You Come From

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In Saša Stanišić’s impressive and touching novel, digressions are the journey, as we too move through make-your-own-adventure lives, in which where you are from, and even where you are going, are of transient import.

Blank Canvases and Self Portraits in White on White

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In her second novel, Ayşegül Savaş goes deep into the human experience, beautiful and fraught, delivering a renewed perception of what it means to be a person among other people.

Pleasurable Disorientation in Lee Young-ju’s Cold Candies

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The experience of reading Lee Young-ju’s collection is to find oneself suspended in an unfamiliar zone, and the disorientation is pleasurable.

Collective Despair in Ana Blandiana’s Five Books

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The poems in Romanian poet Ana Blandiana’s collection offer an uncensored, searing reality of the poverty that Communism created, depicted as an imagistic tragedy from the perspective of those who suffered through it.

Withholding and Revealing in Lily King’s Five Tuesdays in Winter

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Lily King’s new story collection drops readers into imperfect lives, evoking awe and anger and admiration and futility, reminding us how it feels to be human.

Defining Care in Win Me Something

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In Kyle Lucia Wu’s debut novel, care looks like many things . . . it’s in this subtle lesson that Wu’s quiet, understated prose builds to a deeply moving coming-of-age novel.

Death, Rebirth, and Selfhood in Dreaming of You

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In Melissa Lozada-Oliva’s debut novel, a Latina poet brings Tejano pop star Selena Quintanilla back to life through a séance . . . the book brilliantly challenges the limits of one’s selfhood and reveals what’s lost when it’s contorted to fit the beholder’s gaze.

Inheriting Tramua in How to Not Be Afraid of Everything

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Jane Wong’s new poetry collection suggests that historical trauma does not evaporate between generations—its traces leak into the bones of the children, and even of the grandchildren . . . A triumph of formal ingenuity.

The Wilderness of Language in Atsuro Riley’s Heard-Hoard

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In the collection, language, like nature, is elemental—a way of speaking and being in the world . . . Riley’s inventiveness is an invitation to notice language’s connection to the natural world.

Unending American Horror in The Trees

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Percival Everett’s new novel explores our nationwide web of racist violence, and makes us realize there will never be enough deliberation on these horrors.