Elizabeth Bishop’s Eczema

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Writing about Elizabeth Bishop, one hesitates over how much time to spend on biography. Readers are now familiar with many of her biographical details, though she was long known for not being known. But what about her eczema, the first of three lifelong conditions to develop and which quite

How Do You Fictionalize the Experience of Social Media?

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Lauren Oyler’s debut novel is an audacious, mordant, and frequently hilarious sendup of internet culture at the turn of the decade, and a likely harbinger of how books about the internet will read in years to come.

Our Lady of the Floss

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Never losing sight of the sensibilities that make the protagonist of her 1860 novel fallibly, achingly human, George Eliot also venerates Maggie Tulliver’s passions and feelings, suggesting that the path to virtue may not lie in rigidity and conventional moralism, but in the volatile, messy outpourings of the human

Food and Identity in First Generation: Recipes from My Taiwanese-American Home

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Though Frankie Gaw’s debut book is ostensibly a cookbook, it’s also an archive of the Taiwanese American experience and an earnest exploration of the many facets of the author’s identity.

Handiwork and the Making of Motherhood

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“When my son was born, I became obsessed with making. It was as if his coming into the world flipped a switch somewhere inside of myself that compelled me to create things with my hands.”

The Foreboding Landscape in The Impudent Ones

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In her debut novel, Marguerite Duras builds a visceral sense of foreboding through the beautiful and unnerving landscapes in the life of protagonist Maud Grant, who is both captivated by the land around her, and often swiftly shut off from it.

Disaster Capitalism in Birnam Wood

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No generation is immune from the Birnam Wood's ire. Idealistic millennials are frauds, Gen X-ers are technocratic looters, Boomers are oblivious resource hoarders. Yet it’s not just the premise that everyone is fatally flawed that generates such intense and oppressive pessimism; rather, it’s that everyone in the novel is

Endless Grief in Gerardo Sámano Córdova’s Monstrilio

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Sámano Córdova asks readers to imagine cheating death even for a little bit, even if we know it will all go wrong, even if we know the second grief can only be worse.

Gender Euphoria in Frankissstein

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Contrary to the arguments made for the total disembodiment of humanity through digital consciousness, the protagonist in Jeanette Winterson’s 2019 novel presents a striking argument for remaining in human bodies: gender euphoria.

Birds as Metaphor in Birds of Maine and Big Questions

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What Michael DeForge and Anders Nilsen have managed to do is highlight some of humanity’s best traits—and reflect them back to us through the use of these flighty, flittering creatures. Life is beautiful, they seem to be pleading. Take a moment to look at things from a different perspective.