On Fiction

The Mastery of Absences: China Miéville’s This Census-Taker

If texts with narrative plots and wholesome structures are read and written according to disciplines and procedures conforming to their configurations, then perforated structures, degenerate formations, and plot holes must…

A Taste of Immortality: The Post-Earthquake Haitian Novel

Quand on revient de l’enfer, chaque baiser a un goût d’immortalité. (When you come back from hell, every kiss has a taste of immortality.) —Yanick Lahens, Failles (all translations by…

50 Shades of Lydia Davis

“Sex is the brightest thread in the thick, strangely cut fabric of our lives; we can never know what it means, but we’re always sure we’re certain.” —Edmund White There are…

Missing the Mark: Nell Zink’s Racial Fluidity

When Jess Row’s “White Flights” was published in Boston Review in 2013, nobody in the American literary world, except perhaps Jonathan Franzen, had heard of Nell Zink, an American writer…

“Wherein past, present, and future he beholds”: Comics and the Eternal Present

“What, then, is time?” Christian philosopher St. Augustine asked. “If no one asks me, I know what it is. If I wish to explain it to him who asks, I do…

In Another Country with Michelle Bailat-Jones

Dangling like a geologic afterthought at the southwestern tail of Japan’s archipelago, Kyushu Island is home to over thirteen million people and a chain of volcanic mountains. In the slopes,…

The History of the Wanderer

When I was four my family moved from our modest ranch house in Florissant, Missouri, to a larger two story home on an acre of land in Fairfax, Virginia. This…

Sources: Scholastique Mukasonga’s Our Lady of the Nile

In July, I travelled to Accra, Ghana for my sister’s engagement. Walking through my aunt’s one-story house, I searched the rooms for novelty and familiarity. So much had changed. Walls…

Settlement: Bich Minh Nguyen’s Pioneer Girl

It’s no accident that the hardcover design of Bich Minh Nguyen’s Pioneer Girl evokes Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House On The Prairie books. The font is large like a children’s book; the dust-jacket made…

The Previous Everyday: Nicola Griffith’s Hild

In Reading in Detail: Aesthetics and the Feminine, Naomi Schor explores the connection between detail and female identity in art and literature. Schor argues that detail can be threatening in its…

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