A Place to Call Home in Dele Weds Destiny

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Dele and Destiny are secondary characters in their own wedding story, and this is the beauty of the novel. The actual wedding is never about the couple. It’s about families coming together, about how love breaks us down, exposes the truth, and leads us to find ourselves.

Gender and the Body in Breasts and Eggs, The Collection, and The Iliac Crest

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Around the world, woman novelists are refocusing narratives about desire, sex, and the body around their own experiences. Some of their stories explore society’s current hang-ups around women’s bodies, some paint a picture of a potential world full of guilt-free pleasure, and some explode the idea of gender determined

The Varieties of Black Liberation in The Heart of a Woman

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In Maya Angelou’s 1981 memoir, she travels to New York, London, Cairo, and Accra. Everywhere she goes, she meets people who look like her but do not necessarily think like her. Black skin, she realizes, does not immediately equate to kinship, and in fact can mask conflicting understandings of

“Fiction became a place I made to learn for myself what we have endured”: An Interview with Joseph Han

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Joseph Han’s debut novel can be described in a myriad of ways—it’s a ghost story, an immigrant novel, a meditation on the legacy of the Korean War and colonialism, a multi-generational saga, an eco-Hawai’i novel, even a humorous stoner manual.

The Pursuit of Love’s Rejection of Romance

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Nancy Mitford’s tragicomic novel demonstrates the unglamorous acts of love that come from sustained, tested friendships, and it’s from these relationships that the book mines much of its celebrated humor and its overlooked, but just as important, compassion.

Reading Deesha Philyaw’s “Peach Cobbler”

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In “Peach Cobbler,” Deesha Philyaw manages a long stretch of time by tracking her protagonist’s relationship to an object. Writing sensually about peach cobbler, Philyaw draws the reader into the story: we are there, smelling the peaches and sugar and cinnamon, as Olivia develops from a girl into a

The Biopolitical Body of Convenience Store Woman

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Throughout Sayaka Murata’s 2016 novel, the protagonist presents herself as an object of the convenience store that employs her. But the implied morality of the book suggests that this state of bodily control to which she willingly subjects herself may not be as simple as either oppression or free

A Woman’s Conviction in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and 500 Days of Summer

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Summer, Helena, and Hermia hold fast to their own definitions of love, even in the face of men who refuse and ignore them.

Lapvona’s Christian Narrative

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For the people of Lapvona, the fictional Middle Ages village of Ottessa Moshfegh’s new novel, religiosity is less an articulation of faith or devotion and more of narrative concern. The central questions of faith are simply questions of what everything adds up to.

Queer Desire and the Myth of Iphis

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Queerness offers a way into unknowing some of the rigid boundaries we have inherited around what sex should be and what gender is. It can ask us to privilege pleasure and intimacy in our own desires. As in John Gower’s Iphis, queerness is a sort of stepping into the