The Wild Fox of Yemen by Threa Almontaser

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Almontaser’s collection espouses neither sentimental nostalgia nor doomed isolation . . . these poems are poignant and melancholic, sometimes tragic, sometimes hilarious, and always filled with beauty.

Abstraction and Legacy in Bluebeard and So Much Blue

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In filling his 2017 novel with similarities to Kurt Vonnegut’s 1987 work, Percival Everett initiates a dialogue on abstract art.

Revisiting Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

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“When John le Carré died in December, I was drawn to revisit his 1974 espionage masterpiece. Its plotting was just as crystalline as I’d remembered, yet its enduring power didn’t lie, I realized, in its structure or entertainment value, but in the lucidity of its politics and moral investments.”

The Dangerous Age’s Repudiation of the Marriage Plot

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Women are often confined in stories to “erotic narratives” that generally lead to the altar; menopause marks the end of the tale. This plight for a woman in mid-life is evident in the enactment and repudiation of the marriage plot in Karin Michaëlis’s 1910 novel.

“Girlhood is a much darker, more complex—more amazing—experience than what that association suggests”: An Interview with Melissa Febos

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The essays of Febos’s new essay collection read less like a coming-of-age story than they do like a manifesto of all the ways girlhood takes a toll on a girl’s life, as well as of the cultural experience of being a woman.

All the Roads Are Open by Annemarie Schwarzenbach

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For Schwarzenbach, travel is more than geographical—it’s a psychological and introspective undertaking, as well as an intimate metaphor of living and becoming, especially for an androgynous woman who breaks boundaries and social taboos.

Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Grave Encounters

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On March 29, 1832, Ralph Waldo Emerson visited the tomb of his wife, Ellen, and opened her coffin. Twenty-five years later, Emerson once again opened the lid of a coffin—this time his son’s.

Language of Return

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I imagine there is something about my grandmother that would have resisted translation. The best way I know to understand her, the site where my retina and hers overlap, is in language.

The Fragmentary City of Bright Felon

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Kazim Ali's 2009 book is built like a city: fragmentary, recursive, and at once public and personal. Travel fragments the narrator’s experience and story, shattering the idea that an autobiography should be told in complete sentences.

“I absolutely wanted to present an upturned tale of exploration and resource gathering and success”: An Interview with Chang-rae Lee

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Chang-rae Lee’s latest novel illuminates the complex economic and cultural exchange between East and West through humorous and often grotesque scenes that question norms of race, money, privilege, and consent.