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How does one write a book of poems that deals with the unspeakable suffering that history, its people and its events, have brought onto innocent lives, without perpetuating that trauma? the black maria, by Aracelis Girmay (BOA Editions) doesn’t evade tragedy. There is suffering here: that of the thousands who have attempted the journey to
In his debut book, Pop! (Stillhouse Press), Mark Polanzak takes several genres off the shelf—novel, short story, literary criticism, memoir—and throws them all together to create a compulsively readable, and altogether original, literary goulash that asks the central question: is there a “right” way to grieve? Polanzak has been pondering this since he was seventeen,
In his latest book, A Loaded Gun: Emily Dickinson for the 21st Century (Bellevue Literary Press), Jerome Charyn dispenses quickly with the image of a virginal, reclusive “Belle of Amherst” in favor of a more seductive and subversive Emily Dickinson, “fierce–and cruel,” who wielded language as a tool, plaything, and weapon. In the pursuit of
At thirty-six, Kyung is beginning to accept the possibility that his fortunes will never change. It bewilders him, though, how he followed his father’s example, but produced such different results. From an early age, he was led to believe that if he studied hard and worked even harder, he’d eventually be rewarded for his efforts.
Mona Awad’s debut novel, 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl (Penguin Books) is a fascinating study of relationships and the interactions of daily life. Told from varying points of view, each chapter traces the shifting power dynamics between mother and daughter, woman and lover, customer and salesperson. Each encounter, even the careless comment
In Olga Grushin’s new novel, Forty Rooms (Marian Wood Books/Putnam), we follow a protagonist throughout her life during moments of import in, like the title suggests, forty different rooms. Some of these are in houses or apartments she inhabits, while others run the gamut from small-town library to suburban wine cellar. Whatever the case, Grushin