“All memoirists are the narrator and the character at once”: An Interview with Lilly Dancyger

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Lilly Dancyger’s just-released mixed media memoir is a story of two artists, forever separated, and the history and symbols that provide an artistic shorthand able to move past the boundaries of shared experiences and meet again.

The Purpose of Art in Rachel Cusk’s Second Place

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Cusk's new novel is worth reading for its sharp descriptions and powerful story alone, but it’s the in-depth exploration of the purpose of art that makes the story meaningful.

The Maternal Vision of Leslie Jamison and Marilynne Robinson

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In the earliest years of parenting, the tensions between motherhood and artistic practice can feel insurmountable. Yet there are ways in which motherhood and the writing life are uniquely compatible.

The Many Narrative Layers of White Magic

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In her new collection, out this week, Elissa Washuta builds essays that repudiate traditional structures, layering her own stories on existing forms as a means to examine the traumatic, defining moments of her life.

The Reanimating Power of Epistolary Poetry

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Poetry is the process of happening, its reanimating force something experienced each time a poem is read in our heads, aloud, privately, or to others. The best poems—Rachel Mennies’s and Sumita Chakraborty’s poems—are made with such specificity, such unmistakable architecture, that hearing them is this experience, this happening.

To Tip the Balance

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The scope of grief is unimaginable. So is the scope of joy. Our first task is to pay attention, but Annie Dillard reminds us it doesn’t end there: our work is also to try to tip the balance.

Crossing Boundaries in Whereabouts

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Jhumpa Lahiri’s new novel beautifully showcases the way we experience life: the moments that are most important—the turning points—are often only realized in retrospect.

“A lot of the novel is about stories—the ones we tell ourselves about ourselves, the ones we don’t know but that shape us in some way”: An Interview with Gabriela Garcia

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Gabriela Garcia’s non-chronological debut novel, built on glimpses of memory and history, digs into issues of cultural identity, social and political unrest, and the complexities of lives informed by migration, oppression, and racial inequality.

The Maternal Gothic in The Push and Beloved

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Ashley Audrain and Toni Morrison use the maternal gothic form, which dwells on the threats posed both to and by children and mothers, upending idyllic, peaceful visions of maternal life, to explore how mothers are devalued and isolated by white, patriarchal power structures.

Hope in the Apocalypse

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Octavia Butler and Yoko Tawada balance the pain of life in a post-apocalyptic future with stories of human resilience, offering readers some spark of hope in a future that seems hopeless.