Contemplating Infinity

Hilary Leichter’s debut novel is a shifting, surrealist tale of a young woman’s search for permanent employment that deftly captures the anguish of living inside such existential uncertainty, and more terrifying, the potential infinity of it.

The Polyphony of The End of Vandalism

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Maybe the best argument for Tom Drury’s 1994 novel as a neglected classic—at least in contention with its dry comedy and quiet, then startling prose—is its panoramic and uniquely democratic examination of a veritable web of human stories.

Laurent Binet’s Alternate History of the Novel

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The elaborate counterfactuals of Binet’s newest novel, which contemplates a Spanish conquest in reverse, offer a recursive vision of history: you can swap out the protagonists, but the processes of social atomization and economic consolidation unleashed by globalization will propel us into the modern era regardless.

Villainy and Epiphany in Tales the Devil Told Me

The stories in Jen Fawkes’s latest collection, which tell the tales of literature’s most famous villains, don’t simply long to provide motivation for a character’s badness, but rather are united around people suffering from pervasive loneliness and longing for love—two human qualities anyone, villain or victim, could understand.

A Joint Interview with Brenda Miller and Julie Marie Wade

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The eleven essays that make up Miller and Wade’s new collection emerged through an email correspondence the two writers exchanged over the course of four years—an associative, improvisational game of call-and-response that played out in their inboxes.

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.

A Poem for Children

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The poet of Dan Chiasson’s poems is a father and a son, often both at the same time. The poet of Dan Chiasson’s poems, since his first collection was published in 2002, reveals more about himself, his being a father and a son, through the way his poems are

Cultish’s Exploration of Manipulative Language

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People are often mystified about how anyone could get involved in a cultish group, or may vaguely think that “brainwashing” was involved. Indeed, while we might feel safer if there were more esoteric or arcane tricks being used, Montell argues that cults bewitch followers exactly the same way that

The Social Constructs of Womanhood in I Love You but I’ve Chosen Darkness

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The protagonist of Claire Vaye Watkins’s new novel refuses to perform motherhood, wifedom, and womanhood within the strictures of these words. But her refusal calls into question her very character, in others’ eyes and sometimes also her own. If she doesn’t fulfil these roles, what is she?

Life and Death in Today a Woman Went Mad in the Supermarket

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Hilma Wolitzer’s new story collection is brimming with life and humor, and yet death is ever-present, leading the book forward to its final, inevitable conclusion.