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Reviews

The Fractures of Motherhood: Julia Fine’s The Upstairs House

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Like Fine’s uniquely constructed book, being a mom is to be permanently fractured.

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Acts of Love: Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner

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Zauner’s memoir is not a performance, but an act of love, including all the dirty little bits that come with it.

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The More Painful Absence: Keema Waterfield’s Inside Passage

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In this lush and raw account, musicians play, voices harmonize and then separate again, town after Alaska town rolls by… and Waterfield searches for home.

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Inner Conversations Projected on a Surface: Bruno K. Öijer’s The Trilogy

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A family’s grief traps generations in a search for insight.

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The Isolation of Millennial Life: Ancco’s Nineteen

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Nineteen is a book that’s by turns smart, sad, and scathing.

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How We Create Ourselves: Second Place by Rachel Cusk

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The voice reaches and reaches at answers to broad questions. Sometimes it pulls back pieces of insight and beauty.

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Scrutinizing the Ties That Bind: Melissa Febos’s Girlhood

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By the end of the collection, Febos has managed to rewrite or erase entirely many parts of the patriarchal script that held her bound.

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Child as Mother to the Woman: Catherine Gammon’s China Blue

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In this book we are taken by all three: language, plot, character.

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The Past Is All We Have: André Aciman’s Homo Irrealis

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Is it not in the warm chambers of the past, after all, that we are immortal, invincible, and alive?

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Panic Mode: The Influencing Machine by Brooke Gladstone and Josh Neufeld

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Cyclical patterns of journalism notwithstanding, Gladstone sees this moment as uniquely concerning.

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Other Stories, Other Lives: Life among the Terranauts by Caitlin Horrocks

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By the time the television cameras arrive, the rest of the world may be surprised, but we’re not.

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To Set Asunder: The Separation and Synthesis of Tiana Nobile’s Cleave

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A word becomes a reckoning, a reconciling of contradiction.

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The Reconstruction of Derrida: Peter Salmon’s An Event, Perhaps

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The key insight is that names, and indeed all boundaries, involve a hierarchy.

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Electric Synthesis: Drakkar Noir by Michael Chang

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Chang’s style imitates internet culture and the patterns of an anxious mind. But there’s also glamour.

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Word by Word, Brick by Brick: Christine Larusso’s There Will Be No More Daughters

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In other words: Larusso does some remarkably heavy lifting in this book.

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A Love That Leaves Scars: With Teeth by Kristen Arnett

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Reading Kristen Arnett’s With Teeth is like taking an afternoon drive down the I-4 of my memory.

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Both Trauma and Sin: Elizabeth Miki Brina’s Speak, Okinawa

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Speak, Okinawa is masterful at describing the internal dissonance that mixed race children can feel.

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Exorcising Whiteness: Khalisa Rae’s Ghost in a Black Girl’s Throat

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Rae presents America as seen through Black girls’ eyes, experienced by our bodies.

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Illuminating the Darkness: Madeleine L’Engle’s The Moment of Tenderness

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For anyone looking for some truth and tenderness amidst a still-trying time, look no further.

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Hell Is a Young Man: Fraternity by Benjamin Nugent

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The brutality of frat culture, Nugent suggests, is a veneer that hardly masks its devotees’ miseries and insecurities.

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Depths of Story: Who’s Your Daddy by Arisa White

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The inherited wounds cut so deep one wonders if they can ever be fully healed.

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The Plague within a Plague: Ethel Rohan’s In the Event of Contact

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Rohan is masterful at mining these triads for their palpable uneasiness and unavoidable suffering.

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