Book Reviews

Queen of Spades by Michael Shou-Yung Shum

With his debut novel Queen of Spades, Michael Shou-Yung Shum creates a literary link between two unlikely places — Imperial Russia in the 19th century and Snoqualmie, Washington in the 1980s.



Láng Lái Le (Here Comes the Wolf) by Christine Ma-Kellams

Once there was a girl who had to tell a tall tale for a PhD program’s diversity statement that no one was actually going to read, but that schools were required to ask for to be consistent with their mission statement and to not miss out on federal funding.


Book Reviews

Kingdom of Women by Rosalie Morales Kearns

“The biggest lie of the patriarchy is to convince us women that we aren’t violent,” reads a postscript, scribbled at the end of a short story, which is mailed to an FBI agent by a female professor who knows that she’s being watched.



A slow, unstoppable devouring of everything by Armel Dagorn

The moment Hans saw the postcard-sized, paint-by-number picture of a labrador on his manager’s desk, he knew he was in trouble.


Book Reviews

Behind the Eyes We Meet by Mélissa Verault, tr Arielle Aaronson

Appearing this month in English translation, Mélissa Verault’s 2014 novel Behind the Eyes We Meet (originally L’Angoisse du poisson rouge) unfolds as three major overlapping stories, spanning the present-day Plateau neighborhood of Montreal to the Russian labor camps active during the Second World War, to a small Italian town of both yesteryear and today.



Alexanderplatz, One Afternoon by JL Bogenschneider

Midday — and a crowded city square. Even on a weekday it’s busy with tourists and locals: standing, strolling, or sitting. Meantime the pigeons flock, like vultures.

Book Reviews

The Disintegrations by Alistair McCartney

From the opening pages of The Disintegrations, the narrator asserts that he “knows nothing about death, absolutely nothing,” yet what follows is a sweeping chronicle of death that suggests a journey from ignorance to some hazy understanding of the afterlife.



Ancient Cities by Pablo Piñero Stillmann

My support for the previous mayor caused indignation among my friends. Even Carola, who never voiced an opinion and never ever lost her shit, called me a fascist snob after I defended said mayor’s policies of cleaning the streets of vendors.


Book Reviews

When He Sprang From His Bed, Staggered Backward, And Fell Dead, We Clung Together With Faint Hearts, And Mutely Questioned Each Other by Christopher Kang

The most striking feature of Christopher Kang’s short story collection aside from its title, When He Sprang From His Bed, Staggered Backward, And Fell Dead, We Clung Together With Faint Hearts, And Mutely Questioned Each Other, a story in itself, is the subtitle advertising that the book contains 880 stories.


Research Notes

Amy P. Knight on Lost, Almost

As I sit down to write this, the threat of nuclear war has become terrifyingly concrete. Over the last six months, it has increasingly become something people in the mainstream reasonably worry about.



Of Lakes and Swans by Andrew Bertaina

My daughter likes me to tell her stories before bed. She keeps quiet as I try to weave something meaningful with words, her eyebrows knitted in concentration.