Fire Is Not a Country’s Observation of the Apocalypse

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
The tension between the self and the marketplace is the kindle in Cynthia Dewi Oka’s poetry collection. The book draws much of its power from domestic scenes set against an apocalyptic background; here, social mobility is not merely an aspiration, but a search for safety through a series of

The Double’s Extreme Break

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
What makes Fyodor Dostoevsky’s second novel so painful is the extreme tactic he uses to “penetrat[e] into the depths of the normal human soul,” as translator Richard Pevear observes, and the dramatic shift in character that tactic evokes.

Italo Calvino and the Form of Outer Space

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
When the distinction between form and content is difficult to perceive, it can become nearly impossible to articulate the relationship between these supposed opposites. This tangle of questions is not limited to the arts; the problem of form and matter is important to anyone who deals with questions of

The Dawn of the Queer Ecological Novel

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
The need for a queer ecological novel is increasingly apparent, as it becomes difficult to imagine any story, any life, unaffected by the reality of climate change.

Finding Sincerity at The Cheesecake Factory

Part cultural critique and part bildungsroman, Rax King’s debut essay collection offers a rigorous defense of low culture while charting her adolescence in the early 2000s, each cultural totem serving as a lens through which she explores her budding sexuality, her father’s death, and her abusive first marriage.

Oppen on the Unfinished Voyage

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Facing George Oppen’s “shipwreck of the singular” positions one to reconsider a problem with the act of naming, of not remaining silent: to name our own singularity ignores the material of the wreck, the end of one’s own life equivalent to the end of the world.

Withholding and Revealing in Lily King’s Five Tuesdays in Winter

Author: | Categories: Book Reviews, Fiction No comments
Lily King’s new story collection drops readers into imperfect lives, evoking awe and anger and admiration and futility, reminding us how it feels to be human.

The Grief of the Anthropocene in Paige Lewis’s Space Struck

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Inextricably intertwined with the seeming power of the Anthropocene is a deep grief for the loss of a world that we suspect once existed, that we catch glimpses of, but that eludes us more each day.

Katie Kitamura’s Explorations of Separation

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Katie Kitamura’s most recent novels are like mirror images: though their titles suggest that their subjects are opposing themes—separation in one and intimacy in the other—both novels show how our lives are bound up in the lives of others, including those from whom we wish to separate.

Igbo Wisdom in God of Mercy

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Okezie Nwọka’s debut novel continues a powerful literary lineage of works representing Igbo resistance to colonial pressures. Nwoka’s book focuses on the tradition itself, treating it not as a fatally flawed or romanticized stable inheritance, but a living system that is not beyond change.