In Backyard, the first of two stories in Sam Aldens recent New Construction, a radical commune in a southern-seeming town must sort through tensions when one of its membersa young woman suffering from an unspecified sexual traumabegins behaving exactly like a dog: going around on all-fours, barking, and antagonizing the communally kept chickens in the backyard.
Art and science: terminally uneasy bedfellows, or powerful partners in a new era of synergistic alliances? It’s a question that nags at anyone following the groundswell of enthusiasm for the convergence of these two fields.
For an intellectual movement preoccupied with such august considerations as being, time, and death, existentialism has enjoyed an almost painless absorption into the popular culture since its grand Parisian heyday.
It can look as if the poet Campbell McGrath is moving away from his strengths, in his new “Hubble Space Telescope: the Galaxies (1990).” Indeed, the piece appears in a book, XX: Poems for the Twentieth Century, about which you might say the same.
In the best short-story collections, each successive story builds upon the previous, making the sum greater than the parts. Five-time Pushcart Prize winner Richard Burgin’s ninth short-story collection Don’t Think succeeds easily in that regard, with tight, thematic links between stories and an impressive tonal range that span from dark, depressingeven grossto wildly humorous, subtle, and human.
I keep trying to think of some clever way to introduce Chris Bachelder’s new book, but the first instinct remains best: Chris Bachelder’s The Throwback Special is the best book of 2016, and the dream scenario for this year includes Bachelder being recognized and heralded, as it sure seems like he‘s been moving toward throughout his whole career.
The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone is a work of art history and art criticismamong several other genresbut it contains very few images. At the beginning of each chapter, we find just a single black-and-white photograph of the principal artist who will be discussed.
In her debut novel The Suicide of Claire Bishop, Carmiel Banasky does crazy as well as anyone now writing. Admittedly, my use of the word crazy might ring readers sensitivity bells since one of the principal characters in her novel suffers from schizophrenia. Perhaps its more to the point anyway to use the word adverbially and call Banaskys novel crazy inventive.
Brian Evensonnominated for the Shirley Jackson Award, finalist for the Edgar Award and the World Fantasy Award, winner of the International Horror Guild Award, the American Library Associations award for Best Horror Novel, and recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship and three O. Henry Awardsis considered a master of American horror.
In Mike Lalas In the Gun Cabinet, action and feeling is dodged like a bullet is dodged before it penetrates the surface. Its serial poems are shifty figurines of experiential soot. There are no explosions because guns dont do that, instead they spark inside. And their powerthe stuff that killshappens in the strength with which it enters space or a body.
Readers of the Brooklyn Rail may likely be familiar with Tin House, a literary magazine based in Portland and Brooklyn that produces four issues a year. The magazine is self-described as artful and irreverent, and keen to stake out new territory, which can sound generic until you read All Tomorrows Parties, the memoir by Tin House editor Rob Spillman, whose adventures began long before the magazine, as a four year old playing underneath his fathers piano in West Berlin in the 1960s: