Reviews

Grief Is Not Regret: May Cause Love by Kassi Underwood

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When women do not want a pregnancy, we may not experience the marvel and awe some claim are instant and “natural”—or, if we do, they are overshadowed by fear, and grief. ...more

Unbridled Power in All Its Majestic Terror: Will Bardenwerper’s The Prisoner in His Palace

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As we begin our own Age of the Strongman, Hussein’s almost effortless manipulation—of soldiers expecting exactly that behavior—shows how susceptible we all might be to the sheer force of a big personality. ...more

Poetry That Makes You Nearly Miss the Plane: The Complete Works of Pat Parker edited by Julie R. Enszer

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In other words, sometimes we need to be jolted out of our predictable behaviors and routines. We need the kind of reading that scatters us, pulls and weaves our cerebral, emotional, and visceral chains. ...more

The “Reality” of Memoir: Delphine de Vigan’s Based on a True Story

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Memoirists are not transcriptionists of their pasts, recalling conversations verbatim. They are artists, whose job is to interpret the lived history through an artistic lens. ...more

Worlds Full of Demons: Chavisa Woods’s Things to Do When You’re Goth in the Country

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We must ask ourselves: who stands in the shadows of our national persona, both historically and in the nation’s literature? Woods raises the question, and her work points toward an answer. ...more

A Very Great Scoundrel: The Collected Works of Gerard Manley Hopkins Volume III: Diaries, Journals, and Notebooks

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In hindsight, it’s sometimes difficult not to read more than a bit of sadomasochism into Hopkins’s inner passions and the ways in which he resisted them. ...more

Haunted by Child Refugees: Valeria Luiselli’s Tell Me How It Ends

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These aren’t ghosts; these are children who have braved a perilous journey to escape the violent nightmares back home. ...more

Family Is the Deepest Scar: Minae Mizumura’s Inheritance from Mother

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With each word, I found myself thinking of my own grandmother’s journey, escaping war to America with no money, no education, and six children, the pain of this experience inevitably hardening the whole family. ...more

The Queer Valentine of the Century: Jenny Johnson’s In Full Velvet

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In Full Velvet offers the truth of a woman’s life—the queer truth, the queer rose, the queer valentine. And everything is different after that moment of initiation, instantiation. ...more