How the Past Echoes Through Our Lives

Author: | Categories: Personal Essays No comments
There is nothing especially remarkable about Papa Stanley’s death, no significant reason I should be thinking about it some 33 years later in the midst of a global pandemic and nationwide anti-racism protests, except it was the first part of what I came to see as a pattern emerging.

Emptiness and Red Pill

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Discovering emptiness within himself while far from home, the unnamed narrator of Hari Kunzru’s latest novel falls under the influence of a champion of the alt-right and awakens—it seems—to a brutal reality. But this understanding of reality, too, turns out to be partial, provisional.

Tokyo Ueno Station’s Anti-Stereotypical Portrayal of Homelessness

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Yu Miri directly tackles homelessness in Japan in her 2014 novel, focusing on the memories and reflections of the ghost of a homeless migrant manual laborer, Kazu, as he wanders through the titular park, which had been his home.

“Editing is the great joy of writing”: An Interview with Michael Bible

Author: | Categories: Interviews No comments
Bible is a careful craftsman, cutting his new novel down to its core without losing a diverse cast of characters, a clearly rendered town, and wholly realized emotional resonance. He doesn’t overexplain, doesn’t excessively detail, and doesn’t deviate from the novel’s heart.

Prospero the Homeschool Teacher

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Even to an erudite mage like Shakespeare’s Prospero, Miranda’s mind is mysterious and powerful, her memory evocative of her individual, autonomous character. He’s done his best to teach her, despite the circumstances, but no teacher can say with certainty what a student will remember and what will be forgotten.

The Argument over Empathy

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Studies with children have directly connected reading fiction with the development of empathy, but things get messy when we look at how empathy actually works in the real world. Who are we empathizing with, and who are we leaving out? And will it really lead to moral action, or

Beauty in the Ordinary

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
In James Salter’s 1975 novel, style is a form of truth, or at least one of the more direct means of apprehending truths. In the rhythms of his descriptive passages, one gets a sense that he has conveyed a sense of the world as it really is.

Memory, Mediocrity, and Gentrification in Zone One

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Combining elegant craft and clairvoyant perspective with tropes of the zombie novel, Colson Whitehead unsettles our conception of what it means to be human, to connect with each other, and how we understand what defines us as individuals.

Desert Myths

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
In his multimedia venture, Desert Oracle, Ken Layne centers preservation, protection, and treading lightly on the land.

Ludmilla Petrushevskaya’s Scary Fairy Tales

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
In Petrushevskaya’s stories, mothers often struggle to protect their children against the malice and indifference of a harsh reality. Only sometimes are they successful.