The Labor of Being Black

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When a defense attorney asked Donald Williams II, a Black man and witness to the lynching of George Floyd, if he got “angrier and angrier,” Williams responded, “I grew professional and professional.” Such racial performance and linguistic inventiveness are on display in poems by Douglas Kearney and Yusef Komunyakaa.

Reading The Transmigration of Bodies

When I started reading Yuri Herrera’s 2013 novel, I wasn’t trying to read another pandemic book. The pandemic has fatigued me more and more lately. The isolation, the death counts sent to my phone every morning, the anxiety of unwittingly spreading the virus in the grocery store and killing

“These two books, taken together, offer a nice survey of my anxieties and preoccupations over the past decade”: An Interview with J. Robert Lennon

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J. Robert Lennon’s new novel and short story collection, both released last week, offer up an aesthetic of the uncompromising, the surprising, and the fantastic, either cloaked in the everyday or surreally spread.

Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson

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Caleb Azumah Nelson’s highly anticipated debut celebrates Black art and explores generational trauma.

The Tradition of Storytelling in Something Unbelievable

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Over the course of Maria Kuznetsova’s second novel, out next week, we switch back and forth between the perspectives of a woman and her grandmother. In the process, we begin to understand how tightly the two women are connected, even as the lives they live are vastly different, and

The Soul of a City with No Soul

Las Vegas is a feat of tremendous sleight of hand. What Diofebi shows in his debut novel, out this week, is all the thousands of machinations happening in the background, producing what is ultimately a glorious illusion.

Prospero the Homeschool Teacher

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Even to an erudite mage like Shakespeare’s Prospero, Miranda’s mind is mysterious and powerful, her memory evocative of her individual, autonomous character. He’s done his best to teach her, despite the circumstances, but no teacher can say with certainty what a student will remember and what will be forgotten.

The Art of Ambiguity

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In Helen Oyeyemi’s new novel, time’s tricky manifestations in the material world point toward ambiguity itself as a poetics of unknowing and unseeing.

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.