Reviews

Nick Hornby’s new novel, Just Like You, features an improbable relationship between Lucy, a forty-two-year-old white English teacher, and Joseph, a twenty-two-year-old Black man who works in a local butcher shop. Joseph becomes Lucy’s sons’ babysitter, and then her lover. Hornby recreates the period just before the Brexit vote of 2016 and evokes the cultural […]

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March 26, 2021
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Mythology is the “penultimate truth”—it is what can be known but not directly told, explains Joseph Campbell in the documentary series Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth. By that definition, what Terese Marie Mailhot encapsulates in the 124 pages of her bestselling memoir Heart Berries is an epic excavation and experiment to uncover and […]

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March 26, 2021
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Miguel Collazo’s puzzling, spasmodic novel The Journey (1968) is a multigenerational tale of hapless inhabitants persisting on a strange planet. The novel hopscotches across hundreds of years, yet carries inside it relics of its origins in post-revolutionary Cuba. While this new translation breathes anglicized life into an idiosyncratic work of fiction underappreciated in the U.S., […]

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From the Spring 2021 Issue

In his 1923 book Spring and All, William Carlos Williams declares that “either to write or to comprehend poetry the words must be recognized to be moving in a direction separate from the jostling or lack of it which occurs within the piece.” Williams, who would later, in 1944, famously declare that “A poem is […]

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From the Spring 2021 Issue

          In a decade of reading and writing about motherhood poetry—including an essay-review in these pages in 2019—I have found no universal truths about motherhood. However, as I’ve worked with poet Nancy Reddy to edit an anthology of motherhood poems and essays—The Long Devotion: Poets Writing Motherhood—I’ve identified plenty of common […]

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From the Spring 2021 Issue

In Just Us: An American Conversation, Claudia Rankine’s latest collection of poems, hybrid essays, and photographs, she sets out to ask a random white man how he understands his privilege. I admit, as I read, I’m a mix of emotions—giddy, amused, doubtful, even aghast. It isn’t just the gutsiness of such a proposition, the boldness […]

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From the Spring 2021 Issue

I finished writing this review of Claudia Rankine’s new book, Just Us: An American Conversation, during the week in which a White mob devoted to “vigilante antidemocratic paramilitary violence” (in Reconstruction historian Gregory P. Downs’s phrase) broke into the United States Capitol as Congress met to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election. It […]

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From the Spring 2021 Issue

Bhanu Kapil has had a long career of exquisite failures. I mean this, of course, in the best way. Her 2015 book of poetry/prose Ban en Banlieue begins with “13 Errors” in the author’s attempt at a semi-autobiographical novel. Schizophrene (2011) is, according to its introduction, the afterlife of a partially destroyed epic she penned […]

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January 21, 2021
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The cover image of Blood Weather: Poems, Alice Friman’s newest collection of poetry, is Memory, a 1948 surrealistic painting by the Belgian artist René Magritte. The painting’s foreground features a dark rose with thorns, a bell (or a bell-shaped shell), and the bust of a woman with closed eyes and a splotch of blood on […]

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December 11, 2020
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We are all, in this pandemic, a living elegy; there are loves, possibilities, selves, ways of life that are dead, a mobile mortality poets have always known and used their art to reckon with, fool around with, and renovate: enter ghosts, memories, and Wordsworthian “spots of time.” Enter Joshua Rivkin’s abashedly self-conscious and evocative, capacious […]

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From the Winter 2020 Issue

Grace Elizabeth Hale, a historian at the University of Virginia, is the author of Making Whiteness: The Culture of Segregation in the South, 1890–1940 (1995) and A Nation of Outsiders: How the White Middle Class Fell in Love with Rebellion in Postwar America (2010). Hale herself grew up a member of the white middle class […]

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From the Winter 2020 Issue