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

The Root of Passing in The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois

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Honorée Fanonne Jeffers’s sweeping epic engages with a richness of Black life and history far beyond her characters’ proximity to whiteness alone. By tracing the African American experience back to its roots, she has created a canon-worthy work that exposes the complexity of color and the deep wounds passing

Seeking Meaning and Survival in Something Wonderful

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Jo Lloyd’s story collection ripples with intelligence and heart . . . she writes brilliantly about both the past and present, locating humanity’s most elemental anxieties in misbegotten characters who want, above all else, to find a way to keep living.

The Promise of Karaoke

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In Christine Smallwood’s new novel, an adjunct English professor reckons with the contingency of her career: what can she do with a love of literature that seems to be fading, with professional dreams that are turning out to be hollow? To answer these questions, Smallwood turns to karaoke.

The Interrogation of Trauma, Love, and Work in Made in China

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Anna Qu’s debut memoir unravels assumptions about immigration, labor, and trauma at both the personal and collective level, demonstrating how many seemingly disparate elements of our lives are deeply connected.