book review

Extra-metatextuality: A Review of Chuck Klosterman’s The Nineties: A Book

by | April 5, 2022

In his book "The Nineties", Chuck Klosterman is not interested in what’s conventionally understood or easily graspable but in the layers that either exist deep underneath or hover loftily. It’s what makes his essays and books so fun—it allows us to reconsider accepted wisdom.

the nineties book cover

Notes on Imagined Places: From Tim’s Creek to Santo Domingo

by | September 3, 2021

This imagined town in North Carolina, where all of Kenan’s stories take place, is home to preachers, farmers, Black and white people, the rich and poor. In this town lives a queer Black boy, Horace Cross, whose life is being shrunk by the social boundaries delimiting his desire, the same machinations of shame and disregard that turn many young Black queer people into ghosts of themselves.

a visitation of spirits

Mushrooms Talk to Her: A Conversation with Bett Williams

by | August 17, 2021

I first did mushrooms with a green-haired mermaid. It was Halloween, we were at an off campus party, and the sea creature invited me to climb into the back of her Bronco with these magic words: “I love your work.” By “work,” she meant the diary entries I posted online, which were mostly about cigarettes […]

wild kindness book cover

Nonprosecutable: A Review of Shiori Ito’s Black Box

by | July 13, 2021

Through personal narrative, journalist, survivor, and activist Shiori Ito examines rape culture in Japan.

black box book cover

Spelling Cyphers: A Review of Long Division by Kiese Laymon

by | June 24, 2021

The most interesting mystery novels don’t announce themselves as such. There is no murder to solve or culprit to apprehend. Rather, events which have no obvious explanation unfold and an air of ambiguity surrounds them. Kiese Laymon’s novel Long Division belongs to this category of mystery.

Long Division Book Cover

Embodied is an Intertextual and Intersectional Masterpiece

by | May 6, 2021

I could go on and on about these collaborations, but I don’t have enough space here to describe how wonderfully, gloriously, and lovingly enthralling they are. There are poems about birth and the body, stories of misogyny at a university and of grappling with a miscarriage. These works explore heritage, family, gender, love, and in the case of the inimitable Diane Seuss, tits. Altogether, they typify the robust state of contemporary poetry.

Embodied Cover

Her Taste For Speed: Rachel Kushner’s “The Hard Crowd”

by | April 28, 2021

The Hard Crowd offers us a portrait of Kushner through her preoccupations, obsessions, concerns, affinities, and distastes. Her writing on others is always writing about the self and in this sense, she is always doing donuts, flashing the lens externally so as to make an entire revolution, pointing the eye inward once again.

Myriam with the Hard Crowd

Crying in H-Mart: Grief, Hunger, and Healing

by | April 22, 2021

In rock musician Michelle Zauner's memoir "Crying in H-Mart", food is not just a vessel to memorialize her mother but a touchstone for accessing her Korean heritage.

Crying in H-Mart book cover

A Good Top is Hard to Find: Revisiting the S&M Classic Leash 20 Years Later

by | April 20, 2021

In Leash transgressive sex functions less as a subject, or site of guaranteed liberation, and more as a framework to explore how power moves through us, trapping us even as it promises to liberate us. In the age of pink-washed internet activism, DeLynn’s writing is a prescient reminder that any radical transformation of our sex lives, much less society, will never be painless.

Leash book cover

Pola Oloixarac’s Mona is a Devastating Satire That Got Blurbed by a Creep

by | March 23, 2021

Pola Oloixarac’s Mona (translated from Spanish by Adam Morris) is a devastating and harrowing satire of the literary world, an alternately hilarious and piercing examination of the culture surrounding books.

Mona book cover

Of Women and Salt: A Beautiful Novel from Flatiron Books Rubs Salt in the Wounds of the Black Caribbean

by | February 16, 2021

A complex and nuanced story of mother-daughter relationships developed across five generations. But while Garcia attempts to contribute to the larger conversation of race and ethnicity in Cuba, but the depictions of Black Cuban characters lean heavily on age-old stereotypes defined by theft and criminality.

of women and salt cover

The Dangers, and Pleasures, of Smoking in Bed

by | February 4, 2021

Mariana Enriquez’s The Dangers of Smoking in Bed joins the ranks of magic realism's finest short story writers with a group of off-kilter tales enlivened by captivating unease.

Smoking in Bed cover