Reviews

Two Extraordinary Books: Bullets into Bells and Inquisition

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The obscenities and tragedies of American life pile up with speed, and in quantities, that are appalling.

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A Kind of Communal History: Nepantla edited by Christopher Soto

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Fundamentally, [Nepantla] is an act of history-making in verse.

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A Façade of a Woman: R.O. Kwon’s The Incendiaries

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It is incredible to crack open an American novel and wince upon seeing parts of yourself reflected back so strikingly.

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A Community of the People: Tommy Orange’s There There

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THERE THERE does not settle, it unsettles.

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A Megaphone for a Generation: Coming of Age at the End of Nature

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[T]his generation is no longer sure that the future will be better than the past.

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Struggling toward Truth: Porochista Khakpour’s Sick

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Khakpour gathers courage, again and again, as she reaches into the most painful parts of her life, excavates them, and holds them up to the light.

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Three Collections in Two Volumes by August Kleinzahler

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Be stunned by Kleinzahler’s poetry in the far ports of your body.

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Lessons from a Life: Alexander Chee’s How to Write an Autobiographical Novel

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[T]he effect of reading Chee’s essays is to be reminded of why we write, but also, why we read, even in these times of never-ending distress.

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Mothering Our Children and Ourselves: Molly Caro May’s Body Full of Stars

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As May moves through what she now calls her “postpartum challenge,” she does not return to her old self, but instead becomes someone new.

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A Book with Wings: Bird Book by Sidney Wade

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There is an acceptance of the strangeness of things in these poems, even a generosity big enough to invite the oracle in for dinner.

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The Depths We Don’t Have Words For: Sally Bliumis-Dunn’s Echolocation

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[R]eading these poems feels like looking down into deep water, being able to see only so far and no farther.

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Both Insider and Outsider: Victoria Chang’s Barbie Chang

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Barbie Chang is an intelligent, lively portrayal of the pressures on contemporary women (especially mothers), and a breathlessly entertaining read.

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