Callie, our narrator, has a keen eye for observation and takes us into her childhood in a tourist-rich yet sleazy Florida, set vividly in the late-seventies and onwards. We begin with her as a six-year-old and end with her leaving on her own at eighteen. Her mother is a forgetful and irresponsible drunk, one who […]
Sugar Land is the story of one hell of a character called Miss Dara. The novel, divided into three sections, is set in 1920’s Texas, and spans Miss Dara’s whole life. We meet her as a 19-year-old when she falls for her best friend, Rhodie. The attraction is mutual and they spend a few weeks […]
The Binti trilogy resides for me in that corner of the Appalachian Mountains I first picked it up: 14.5 acres of oak trees, milkweed, and a prolific flora only Nnedi Okorafor could bring back to memory with renewed magic and beauty. What I read in her novellas came alive in the landscape. Okarafor, the magnetic […]
Just what I needed. It was a snowy afternoon in Vermont and I was bored. I picked up Moderow’s Fast into the Night: A Woman, Her Dogs, and Their Journey North on the Iditarod Trail from the pile of books next to my bed. I started the memoir and then put it down. Why? I knew […]
Wonderfully absurd and weird stories fill this collection by Bryan Hurt. His characters range from astronaut-artists, a British aristocrat with his adopted girls, a goat and seagull questioning the afterlife on the edge of a cliff, and a run-down American writer panicking about the demands of his agents. The opening lines are often so succinct […]
Neil Gaiman doesn’t know this but I’m devastated that the one time I lived as an NYC-expat was when he reigned as Neptunian king at this year’s Mermaid Parade. So, this summer, instead of reveling in my usual Coney Island haunts, I decided to grow a fishtail in my bathtub as I read the short […]
Doug Lawson’s collection of short stories, Bigfoots in Paradise, is set in and around Santa Cruz, California, between Silicon Valley and the Pacific Ocean. There are eight stories, each about 20-30 pages, and many have been previously published in journals such as Gargoyle, Glimmer Train, and Mississippi Review, amongst others. Doug Lawson writes with confidence, […]
In Guardian Angels & Other Monsters, Daniel H. Wilson’s short story collection invites us to consider the question: How far would you go to provide for your children? “The Executor,” a noir-esque short story, reimagines a hypercapitalist future world in which the descendants of the galaxy’s richest man have fought centuries-long wars over their vast […]
The opening scene of Rachel Kushner’s The Flamethrowersevokes this bold declaration: a vision of a sleek Italian motorcycle, screaming across Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats. The hero, Reno—leather-clad and fearless—hits 130 miles per hour, her record-setting attempt.
To mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, the Hogarth Shakespeare Project began inviting novelists in 2015 to reimagine the Bard’s canon in contemporary works of fiction. A number of writers were contacted, such as Howard Jacobson, Anne Tyler, Margaret Atwood, and Jo Nesbø, a Norwegian author primarily known for his Harry Hole series of […]
Michael A. Ferro’s darkly comedic debut novel, TITLE 13, is the story of a missing government census document, a deep and complex relationship with home and family, a man losing himself to alcoholism, and the usual contenders: life, death, and love. It’s also the first documentation of the Midwest’s experience during The Great Recession that […]
Megan Hunter’s haunting debut novel, The End We Start From, explores a mother’s journey through London underwater. Immediately, the reader is gripped by Hunter’s visceral imagery, as she describes the protagonist, who is preparing to give birth as “a lumbering gorilla with a low-slung belly and suspicious eyes.” Through Hunter’s poetic prose and honest revelations, readers […]
When the reader first meets Iván the hotel owner in Daniel Peña’s debut novel, Bang, he is ruminating on all the reasons why his mother seemed to never let him outside into the Mexican city of Matamoros as he was growing up. “At first it was sun-exposure (too much of it),” Iván thinks. “And as […]
Let’s Talk about Boyfriend(s) School dance, prom, holding hands, kissing, dating, love, and boyfriends. Full of reminiscent nostalgia for the past, Bachofner explores young love in her latest poetry book, The Boyfriend Project (2017). The catchy title attracts instant attention, especially from girls of all ages, who love to reminisce about romantic relationships from their […]
Let’s Play The Lying Game. Tell a lie. Everyone has told a white lie in their lives. I have never been one of those people. Caution: Continue at your own risk for I fear I may be an unreliable narrator with a past I am trying to bury. Once in a while these lies creep […]
The Infinite Future likes to mix its genres, stories, and narrators. Released in January 2018 by Penguin Press, Tim Wirkus’ work is a novel that is broken into two sections. There is the search for an ancient manuscript, and the manuscript itself: Two tales live within this one book.
Fusing fantasy, horror, gothic romance, and the supernatural, the stories of Minnesota-based Kelly Barnhill host a menagerie of undead magicians, poetic corpses, haunted witches, and evasive female pirates.
The literary world has been applying the “-punk” suffix to science fiction sub-genres so frequently and for so long that it sometimes verges on self-parody. It all began with cyberpunk, a description of the 80s noir-esque SF of Bruce Sterling, Rudy Rucker, and of course William Gibson. This was soon followed by steampunk, a term […]
No matter how outdated or clichéd you think fairy tales have become, their appeal remains undeniable today. The whimsy and call for the suspension of belief, as applied to the mundane of our everyday, grasps at our hearts, evoking a sense of nostalgia and hope. When I asked the employee at Phoenix Books in Burlington […]
At the Crossroads of Woman and Mother A Review of A Woman is a Woman Until She is a Mother by Anna Prushinskaya How are women’s stories told? Who hears these stories? How do the terms ‘mother’ and ‘woman’ relate and differentiate? Can they coexist? These are some of the questions Anna Prushinskaya tackles with […]
John Hodgman has made his living off of telling tales and giving people orders. His first three books, satirical almanacs, cover topics ranging from fake historical anecdotes to the validity of the upcoming Mayan apocalypse. I first came across Hodgman through his podcast, Judge John Hodgman, where he mediates everyday conflicts with a self-righteous demeanor […]
Norman is a master of atmosphere and despite the levity of the parallel detective stories, My Darling Detective has these touches of such realism that we, the readers, leave with a strong sense of the trauma of war on a personal level.
Becker’s belief in reality, his faith in meaning, and his understanding that meaning can be communicated, has value, and originates in consciousness; are all affirmations of human life. These are ideas worthy of gratitude.
Love without sense or control, love made into a god, is no longer love. It’s a weapon wielded most painfully on the self, but perhaps it also has the potential to deliver healing.
Like a lot of people approaching their first book review, I have no idea what I’m doing. So, for my sake, and for the sake of other would-be reviewers, I decided that, in addition to my review, I would compile a guide on writing book reviews. Never mind that I’ve never done this before…
A book Review in Letters: Sarah Seltzer and Sarah Braud on The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling Dear Sarah, I wish we were sending this by Owl instead of email. Oh, well, let’s be prosaic and leave wizardry behind. A nickname for this new novel, which involves a contested seat for the town of Pagford’s Parish Council after a beloved […]
From Reading to Wonder: Erika Anderson on Safe as Houses by Marie-Helene Bertino ~6th in a series When I tell people I’m a writer, they ask what I’m reading. This is smart. It’s smart because more often than not, we’re in a bar, and I’m not sure if I want to talk about my writing at […]
Rhoda Rapport: Natalie Serber on Ellen Gilchrist’s Rhoda, A Life in Stories When I first fell in love with Rhoda K. Manning, I was in my early twenties and making a lot of bad decisions—failing classes at my community college; drinking Moscow Mules; dating waiters, surfers, a lawyer who sat next to me on a cross-country flight—and […]
Penny Blubaugh on Lisa Goldstein’s Walking the Labyrinth Lately I’ve been seeing my writing life as a labyrinth. The twists and turns it takes are even more dramatic than I expected, and believe me, I did expect drama. But more and more often, the dark parts of my particular labyrinth have been harder to illuminate, and the […]
From Reading to Human: Erika Anderson on tiny beautiful things by Cheryl Strayed On a sunburny afternoon in Prospect Park, I drank apple-ginger soda and talked about death with a man who boxed, followed the zodiac, and read palms. He sang a line from Sade’s song “Maureen” about losing her best friend, “You’ll never meet my new […]
John Proctor on selected essays from The Best American Essays 2002 . ~9th in a series SourceURL:fiaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa Most of us living in New York City on 9/11 were not in the World Trade Center, many of us nowhere even near it. I was working in market research on 25th Street and was supposed to start […]
Stories Speaking to Stories: Cynthia Newberry Martin on Natalie Serber’s Shout Her Lovely Name . Here’s a confession: For many months now, I haven’t wanted to read story collections. Each time I paused in front of my waiting-to-be-read stacks, the story collections would jump up and down, screaming it was their turn, while the novels did nothing […]
I dated a man in college who could not bear to leave food on a plate, his or anyone else’s. He would dispatch his food with good speed, then pick at the borders of my meal while I ate. Before my fork hit the table he’d drag my leftovers to his side and tuck in.