Notes on Jill Alexander Essbaum’s Hausfrau
It’s important to notice that, while she may be fiction, we do live in a world that is partially responsible for the creation of a tragic figure like Anna Benz.
The Magic of “The Library at Night”
Simply walking into the Grande Bibliothèque in Montreal is a terrifically inspiring experience. The combination of soaring windows, reading nooks, and six floors to browse through is enough to get anyone excited about literature. But one of the library’s greatest features is the basement exhibition space that has housed some truly terrific works in recent years. Their latest undertaking,…
Helen Phillips’ The Beautiful Bureaucrat
That is, until she finds a job entering data from the confines of a depressing, grey, entirely secluded office.
Review: Taduno’s Song by Odafe Atogun
A wholly engrossing, impressive debut by a writer who has taken the force of multiple influences and wielded them with an uncommon grace and lightness.
Fiction Unbound: On Rebecca Solnit’s A Field Guide to Getting Lost
For someone who has written so eloquently about the creation of Frankenstein you would have to expect Solnit to know, all too well, that you cannot piece together a series of abstract ideas, assemble them, and call it a character.
Reading Notes: The Creative Tarot by Jessa Crispin
Probably most well-known as the editor and founder of (the alas, soon to be former) Bookslut.com and of Spoliamag.com, Jessa Crispin also reads tarot cards for artists of all sorts. In this book, she provides a very useful history on the practice and goes through the deck in a way similar to most volumes on tarot,…
Review: Elnathan John’s Born on a Tuesday
Set in the world of violent conflict arising from divisive attempts by sectarian splinter groups to define and put into practice a fundamentalist form of Islam, Elnathan John’s Born on a Tuesday (Grove Press) can feel all too familiar at times. It echoes the news of kidnapped schoolgirls and the profiles of young men who leave their homes…
Reading Notes: The Faraway Nearby
Rebecca Solnit’s prolific and varied career as a woman of letters is remarkable in its scope. Though I believe she is most often thought of as an essayist, she is in fact many different people, depending on who you ask. To feminists and women in general she is the brilliant champion who introduced the concept of mansplaining…
Review : The Book of Speculation and The Mermaid Girl
Erika Swyler’s first novel The Book of Speculation has a lot of things to recommend it: a reclusive archivist, mysterious tomes, a jolly antiquarian bookkeeper, mermaids, tarot cards, beach scenes, sibling rivalry, extramarital affairs, and the strange and delicious insanity that comes from loss of employment. There’s a bit of romance too. Also some love.…
Review: The Surrender
It is nearly too perfect that the French word genre denotes both literary genre and gender. For if Scott Esposito’s quietly powerful essays found in The Surrender do not defy genre, they certainly do reveal the plasticity of memoir and then stretch the form to its limits. Somewhat the same could be said for the author’s own exploration of gender. In this book, the acclaimed critic…