The Age of Skin by Dubravka Ugrešić

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Dubravka Ugrešić a formidable and unique cultural critic. She demands that we see deeper, even where we refuse to look.

“We are this horrible animal, all of us”: An Interview with Gina Tron

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If we are to rest on the definition of poetry Major Jackson has offered, American poets “write in the wake of a long tradition of resistance.” In responding to American violence with both intimacy and anger on the page, Tron engages in just such an act of resistance.

The Haunted Tenants of Henry James

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Nearly half a century apart, Rumer Godden and E.F. Benson each moved into a house that could never seem to forget its first master, whose traces still filled its rooms. And so they made themselves at home as best they could—by writing ghost stories at Henry James’s desk.

Memory and Selfhood in Confessions

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In his remarkable 2008 novella, Rabee Jaber merges the cinematic image and affective response to investigate the paradox of memory and imagination, the polarization of Beirut, and the irretrievably fractured sense of self left behind by the thousands of disappeared civilians during the Lebanese Civil War.

Good Morning, Midnight and the Failure of Our Daily “Programs”

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Reading Jean Rhys’s 1939 novel, I soon landed on the lazy word unlikeable to describe its protagonist. The moment the word arose in my mind, I was suspicious, but I found Sasha’s inability to make a place for herself in the world, even on the margins, exasperating.

Zuleikha Opens Her Eyes

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Guzel Yakhina’s 2015 novel is both a satisfying work of historical fiction as well as a moving portrait of a difficult period. Its most surprising element is also its most paradoxical. Perhaps in spite of Yakhina’s intentions, it posits a woman whose life is expanded and even enriched while

Reading, the Collective, and the Formation of the Self

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Yiyun Li transcends the individual through the way she focuses so singularly on the I, moments of aloneness, and solitary memories, rather than on feelings she has from shared memories. Yu Hua, too, transcends the individual, though he does so by offering his experience as a way of representing

Jenny Erpenbeck’s Lost Edens

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Erpenbeck’s 2008 novel, centered on the history of a small parcel of land on the edge of the German lake known as the Märkisches Meer, is a sophisticated retelling of the Creation and Fall stories from the biblical book of Genesis.

On the Confederate Flag

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I’m driving in silence on State Highway 70, except for this truck that is motoring slow, and its exhaust pipe chokes like the engine is cutting off. The truck bed is rusted, exposing the primer. Still visible, though the paint is chipped, is the red, white, and blue star-crossed

How Two Young Black Poets Are Making Sense of the World

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The art of literacy may not be aggressive, but as Madison Petaway and Akilah Toney, two poets included in a recent New York Times feature, show, it can be assertive, assured, and bold.