In the Saturday Essay, Lisa Borders describes moving to a small community in southern New Jersey at thirteen. It’s the sort of place where everyone knows the difference between “good” and “bad” families. This dynamic reminds Borders of Steven Avery, the embattled subject of the popular Netflix documentary series, Making A Murderer, in turn, Avery reminds Borders of a character in her own novel, The Fifty-First State, and the real-life man who inspired him.
Meanwhile, Heather Partington observes similar settings in a dual review of H.S. Cross’s novel Wilberforce and Helen Macdonald’s memoir H Is For Hawk. The male boarding school becomes a locus of conflict and the place where patriarchal values are inculcated. Cross’s “nuanced” story, which takes place in Britain in the 1920s, addresses repressed male sexuality, a theme that also features in Macdonald’s portrayal of the author T.H. White.
Finally, author Chaitali Sen discusses her debut novel, The Pathless Sky, with Swati Khurana in the Sunday Interview. Sen details her experiences with racism and creative introversion as an Indian-American child growing up on Long Island and in Philadelphia. Place, she asserts, informs her work deeply, even though it is possible to love and hate a place at the same.