Piranesi’s Disenchanted World

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Susanna Clarke’s 2020 novel speaks both to the impossibility of truly reenchanting the world and the desperate desire to do so.

Soothing Existential Dread in Beautiful World, Where Are You

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Sally Rooney’s talent lies in her ability to capture millennial existentialism and dread while almost simultaneously soothing it—the experience of finding one’s own anxieties articulated so precisely on the page feels like a balm.

The Maternal Gothic and Maternal Ambition

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Now in my second pregnancy, I am turning to fiction, in particular a spate of recently published novels that portray the challenges of the postpartum period and early motherhood, to make sense of my attempts to hold together the identities of writer and mother.

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.

Pop Song and the Literary Breakup Album

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Larissa Pham’s new collection reads like a beautiful, literary breakup album, each essay operating as its own track. By the time you’ve turned the final pages, you want nothing more than to flip the metaphorical album over, drop the needle, and begin again.

Dybek, Shalamov, and Condensed Milk

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The transformation of milk into preserved milk is a magic trick of sorts, a way to extend the life of a perishable product. Although in very different ways, Varlam Shalamov’s “Condensed Milk” and Stuart Dybek’s “Pet Milk” are interested in considering man’s ability to do the same.

Finding Oneself in Three Rooms

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Jo Hamya’s debut novel is an invitation to reflect not only on where we house our bodies, but also our attention.

The Importance of Writing About Art

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In the face of urgent calls for social action, Olivia Laing’s 2020 collection of criticism makes a case for art’s slow, subtle efficacy. And in her acuity as a critic, she demonstrates that not only art, but writing about art, can be a powerful agent of social change.

The Interfaith Poetics of Pilgrim Bell

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For readers who share his sensitivity to the spiritual, Kaveh Akbar forges an interfaith poetics based on shared humanity and sharply rendered difference, manifested in an ethics of interruption. We find each other, the collection seems to say, in our shared search for the divine, wounded and harnessing the

“I’ve always been drawn to writing about the body—our physical selves and how they reflect our inner lives”: An Interview with Kat Chow

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Kat Chow’s debut memoir is very much about bodies. In it, Chow considers what could have been—not just in her life but in the generations before—particularly as what could have been relates to bodies and the ways in which they betray in life, as well as where they rest