Search View Archive


In Conversation

Then I Put In My False Heart: SARAH ROSE ETTER in conversation with Andrew Ervin

In Sarah Rose Etter’s weird and wonderful new novel The Book of X, our protagonist Cassie is afflicted by a medical anomaly. “I was born a knot like my mother and her mother before her,” it begins. Each of the women in her family have their stomachs twisted into bulbous masses of flesh and muscle.

Living on the Borderlines: Stories, by Melissa Michal and Sabrina & Corina: Stories, by Kali Fajardo-Anstine

There’s a lot of talk these days about the need to listen to marginalized voices and yet so many of us continue to limit our reading–by chance, circumstance, or desire–to narratives written by and for a largely white literary audience.

What My Mother And I Don’t Talk About: Fifteen Writers Break The Silence

Despite the centuries old and universal topic of the mother-child relationship, the dyad of all dyads, Michele Filgate’s anthology reminds us the subject never grows stale. Rather it is perfectly-flavored dressing atop the most flavorful edible garden.

My Roots Were Somewhere With You

“What is a country? A country is a piece of land surrounded on all sides by boundaries, usually unnatural. Englishmen are dying for England, Americans are dying for America, Germans are dying for Germany, Russians are dying for Russia. There are now 50 or 60 countries fighting in this war. Surely so many countries can’t all be worth dying for.”

My Struggle: Book Six by Karl Ove Knausgaard

Considered as a whole, the six volumes of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s 3,600-page work of autofiction, are not of equal quality.

The Girls in My Town By Angela Morales

Angela Morales’s debut collection of autobiographical essays paints a portrait of a complicated Mexican-American family in 1970s Los Angeles with soft humor and unflinching honesty. Confronting questions about life, memory, and the significance of why we remember the things we remember, The Girls in My Town is a coming-of-age story that takes the reader from childhood to motherhood and reveals how the author discovered her voice as a writer. Writing truthfully about grim realities, Morales offers reassuring reminders to look for the beauty hidden within dark and dismal landscapes.

The Aesthetics of Silence: New Books by Ilya Kaminsky & Donna Stonecipher

In a 2007 essay, Chris P. Miller asserts that “silence is a chronology, a beginning collapsed into the end.” For Miller, silence manifests as the first—and truest—form of compression, a charged and dense rhetorical space in which even time folds in on itself. Susan Sontag describes this remarkable compression not as a destructive force, but rather, as transcendence, a sure sign of language sublimating into dream, insight, and artistic vision. Approached with these ideas in mind, the gaps between words, lines, stanzas, and prose paragraphs becomes charged with possibility, a liminal space in which the rules governing speech no longer hold.

The Fat Kid by Jamie Iredell

Jamie Iredell’s bloody, disturbing, frequently funny new novel is a lyrical study of a strain of destructive American masculinity at the turn of the twenty-first century. Titled The Fat Kid, the book presents accounts of the lives of the titular character and his father (named, by contrast, the thin man). A pair of cultural outsiders—the thin man is a workaday type whose unhappy discovery about his roots transforms him into violent wanderer; his son grows up feeling alienated and at odds with the world—these men become criminals under the influence of a mysterious figure named, ironically, Emanuel (and known as, among other things, “The Man,” a comically fitting moniker to attach to a prophetic character who behaves in a positively Antichrist-like manner) and something called “The Machine.”


The Brooklyn Rail

MAY 2019

All Issues