Book Reviews

Beyond the Rice Fields by Naivo

The opening of Beyond the Rice Fields, set in 19th-century Madagascar, evokes the mists of memory, of bittersweet childhood lost in time.

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Research Notes

Dana Diehl on Our Dreams Might Align

When I was a child, my family car rides were punctuated by my parents’ stories of the land: the glacier that carved this valley, the journey these quartz pebbles took from mountaintop to creek bottom. They are geologists. Their stories unfolded the world for me in a way that felt similar to the storybooks we read at home before bed.

Book Reviews

After Coetzee: An Anthology of Animal Fictions , ed A. Marie Houser

In After Coetzee: An Anthology of Animal Fictions, activist and scholar A. Marie Houser curates a provocative collection revealing the fissures of freedom and communication between human and nonhuman animals.

Book Reviews

Cake Time by Siel Ju

The “Difficult Man” is ubiquitous in fiction and pop culture. Male characters are influenced by John Updike’s original immoral post-war family man Rabbit Angstrom, Philip Roth’s navel-gazers, Raymond Carver’s alcoholics, and thoughtful criminals like Tony Soprano and Walter White. Siel Ju’s excellent novel-in-stories, Cake Time, subverts this trope to focus on the good and bad decisions of a difficult woman.

Book Reviews

The Fabrications by Baret Magarian

The simplest introduction for Baret Magarian’s The Fabrications is to say that it is a novel of satire for an era of irreality.

Book Reviews

The Things We Do That Make No Sense by Adam Schuitema

The Things We Do That Make No Sense, Adam Schuitema’s second story collection, begins with a passage from one of Andre Dubus’ most famous stories, “A Father’s Story”: “For ritual allows those who cannot will themselves out of the secular to perform the spiritual, as dancing allows the tongue-tied man a ceremony of love.”

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Research Notes

Kristen N. Arnett on Felt in the Jaw

I don’t like to experience feelings. I’ll write characters who experience feelings so I don’t have to worry about actually experiencing them myself. Then they can feel something and I’ll understand what it’s like for them to have that weird, overwhelming, uncomfortable feelings, but I won’t have to deal with it.

Book Reviews

Near Haven by Matthew Stephen Sirois

The end of the world is nigh—and it’s only 1987. Scientists have calculated the precise day—almost a year away, at the top of the story—that a comet will collide with our planet and destroy human life as we know it.

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Research Notes

David Hayden on Darker With The Lights On

Last week, last month, three years ago; on the bus, in a café, at my kitchen table; I sat down to write. What was in my mind? I have forgotten.

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Interviews

Human: An Interview with Chauna Craig

I always think of myself as “from” Montana, and when I’m out West, something in my whole being lifts up — like I can somehow breathe better. So yes, that call is always, always there. I keep trying to answer it in my writing, but someday I hope to be back where I belong.

Book Reviews

Aberrant by Marek Šindelka, tr Nathan Fields

A word of warning: Aberrant is not for the faint of heart. If the man-eating plant from Little Shop of Horrors brings back unsettling memories, know that Marek Šindelka’s debut novel has something much darker in store.