The Rumpus Review of Books

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Arguments with Federico García Lorca, a haunted house in Mexico City, a young translator obsessed with a dead plant – these are some of the elements of Alex Kalamaroff’s enticing review of Faces in The Crowd by Valeria Luiselli.

The victim of a post-9/11 hate crime leaves his job as a convenience store clerk and becomes a successful programmer. But his story is more layered than that. Padma Viswanathan expounds on it elegantly in her review of The True American by Anand Giridharadas.

This tale of a “hallucinogenic rabbit hole” could not be more different than Alice in Wonderland. It chronicles a former New York executive who becomes a guinea pig for government drugs. Max Vande Vaarst sums it up in his review of The Making of Miasma by Henry Escaya.

Weird is the mantra of this poetry collection. Gephyromania by TC Tolbert is a terse yet meaningful “exploration of the mutability of identity”. Tolbert verses are “singular and honest”, according to Charlie Atkinson’s heartfelt review.

Reviewed by his colleague Julie Marie Wade, the poems in Joshua Young’s The Holy Ghost People seem to traverse a wide spectrum of celestial subjects behind the window of an allegorical space ship.

Angie Chuang makes a unique investigation into identity–hers, her Chinese family’s, and her Afghan subjects’–in her memoir The Four Words for Home. Molly Beer describes her mission in this review.

Two women ride a wave of futuristic turbulence while battling archaic political principles in Monica Byrne’s debut novel, The Girl in the Road. E.B. Bartels gives a funny and generous depiction.


Julie Morse lives in San Francisco and is a poetry teacher. She can be found @JulieMorse16. More from this author →