Drifting Shared Memories in I Went to See My Father

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The narrative tends to drift, partly because of its emphasis on memory and partly because of the soft flow of Shin’s syntax, expertly translated by Hur.

The Spatialization of Fiction

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Spatial conflicts and curiosities (the lighthearted call to the open road, for example) can undergird the entire momentum and tone of a novel. Without knowing a character’s place in the world, it’s challenging to gather the full context of their decisions.

Acceptance in Love

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Books by Sally Rooney, Anat Levit, and Daniel Sloss show us how to triumph over tension in relationships: rather than be at war with each other’s pet peeves, lovers share the pain—and perhaps a laugh—when admitting that love is anything but simple.

Inherited Trauma in We Cast a Shadow

What the narrator of Maurice Carlos Ruffin’s debut novel doesn’t fully comprehend is that he is worried about his son inheriting trauma from him. Inheriting something that cannot be wiped away.

Luster, A Lover’s Discourse, and the Portrayal of Whiteness

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The protagonists of recent novels by Raven Leilani and Xiaolu Guo dwell on a cross-racial gaze, othering the white men who are the objects of their physical affections. In this, they attempt to reverse the gazes of centuries by paying an anthropological attention to their partners’ bodies, speech, and

Parsing Identity in Grief in Himmo, King of Jerusalem

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It is for her own future, for a possibility of life for her as well as for the other patients, that the painful reminder of Himmo—the broken, sightless, tortured embodiment of his own country—must be destroyed. Only then can she walk out into the smoking remains and start anew.

Love, Liberation, and Empowerment in Godshot

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Chelsea Bieker’s debut novel, out today, feels familiar, devastating, like it has already happened, could, or might again. It’s the story, too, of motherhood in all its iterations, from abandonment to adoption, at the best of times and worst, and the moments, no matter how small, of love.

“Unfortunately, the Book Continues to Be Relevant”: An Interview with Erika Meitner

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When Erika Meitner was in the process of adopting her youngest son, she was surprised to discover just how many households in her neighborhood had firearms. Erika Meitner’s new poetry collection uses these two life events to examine safety, violence, and raising a family in rural Appalachia.

The Joys of a Journal

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Last April, I attended Alexander Chee’s talk on reporting the self. He said: “The thing that you remember is the thing that you live with.” I’d never heard this truth stated so clearly before. What else but memory could be at the root of so many personal conflicts and

Still Life with Oysters and Lemon’s Meditation on Life, Death, and Memory

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If still life is a background of lustrous dark space against which shines life, Mark Doty uses this composition to show how memory illuminates certain people and objects while allowing others to recede.