Personal Essays Archive
As she got older, anytime someone was thinking of leaving town, my grandmother would implore them to stay, reciting the refrain that has now become a family catchphrase: “Don’t go no place,” she’d say. Family is the place. Nobody understands this interpretation of the utopian ideal better than immigrant
We’ve spent so much time discussing Ignatius Reilly: his multi-dimensional, timeless creation, but have ignored saying the obvious about John Kennedy Toole—that much of the Dunces mythos is built on the back of his suicide.
A home doesn’t feel like a home when there are structures built to immortalize those who dehumanized entire populaces. But it feels a little more like home when we’re marching, when we fill spaces with our bodies, our friends, our loves, our strangers, shouting out the names of the
One cannot simply outgrow or outlive a colonial, racist history. In order for the system to change, we need to stare at it and acknowledge it for what it is.
I remember the books I brought to the sober home. I started talking to the other residents about them, even though I’d never opened them up. I would say this or that, something arbitrary or vague. It was intoxicating to displace myself, to wash myself with fictions I couldn’t
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
There’s a line in Niyi Osundare’s 2011 book that goes, “Enia lasoo mi,” which translates from Yoruba to English as, “People are my clothes.” Waking up to a seemingly emptied New Orleans, Christopher Romaguera had that line on his mind.
In Paul Yoon’s new novel, we become witnesses to the many disappearances that punctuate war-torn lives: of neighbors, memories, motorcycles, colonizers, baskets, friends, body parts, names. Some of these disappearances, however, like new continents emerging from volcanic eruptions, lay the ground for Yoon’s characters’ destinies.
The first book in Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy does not balk at the sheer futility of humanity in the face of natural forces, but it doesn’t wholly destroy all who enter it, either. Instead, it returns readers to the sublime aspect of nature—the understanding that it can be
It can be easy, under certain circumstances, to imagine that catastrophe is worlds away. Just as it is easy, from the comfort of the East Coast, to relish in the warmer-than-usual winter and pretend like there are no fires consuming the wildlife of Australia or endangering the children of