A Fierce Feminist Take on the Troubles in Factory Girls

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Michelle Gallen’s novel enriches the Troubles narrative with a fierce cast of young women determined to reject the violence of their youth.

Literary Canons and the Reckoning of National Heritages

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In both France and the United States, literature has always been a prime site for these struggles over memory—what gets remembered, and how.

A Writer Between Worlds

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Culture shock is central to Tawada Yôko’s subject matter: her characters tend to be travelers of one kind or another—mail-order brides, bewildered exchange students—forced to wander in the gap between languages, where the meaning of ordinary daily experience turns slippery and weird.

“Much of this novel is about queer and trans people fighting to see ourselves as sacred”: An Interview with Zeyn Joukhadar

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In Joukhadar’s new novel, during the search for what seems almost to be a mythical bird, and for an explanation as to how exactly a disappeared artist and the protagonist’s mother are linked, Nadir also begins searching for his transgender identity—a separate and daunting migration all his own.

The Lyricism of Mundane Grief in Joy Enough and The Long Goodbye

Death’s lyricism, perhaps, can only be found after the fact, when one tries to prettify the tedium and make sense of inner chaos.

The Unfamiliar and the Strange

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Ted Chiang demonstrates that balancing the familiar and the strange in science fiction is not simply a case of having new technologies alongside old, but understanding what is familiar in sci-fi and how logic itself can serve as a kind of familiarity to guide the reader through novel ideas.

Picturing The Fire Next Time

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James Baldwin’s text and Steve Schapiro’s photographs undertake similar strategies, revealing systemic racism and its hypocrisy through the telling of deeply personal, narrative moments.

The Interplay of the Collective and the Individual in We Ride Upon Sticks

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Quan Barry’s collective narration creates the semblance of a unified whole that is also prescient in its selective individuation: while dipping into single characters’ arcs to develop them as individual people, this separation and isolation prepares the reader to meet and accept the novel’s ending.

Reading Robert Pinsky’s Jersey Breaks: Becoming an American Poet

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Robert Pinsky’s narrative moves insofar as it leads to poetry: that the events of a life in writing seem a bit accidental; that what sustains a life in writing is not fame, not a cartoon version of oneself chatting with Lisa Simpson, but a commitment to language bordering obsession.

Traversing Memory in The Heather Blazing

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Through a juxtaposition of present-day and memory, Colm Tóibín’s second novel allows the reader to understand who the protagonist is and the pressure of his past on the present.