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Vincent Katz’s Broadway for Paul

Often matter-of-fact in tone, stripped of rococo embellishment or flowery pretense, these poem-objects by poet, art writer, and translator Vincent Katz stand as testimony to keen observance and thoughtful assessment.

Buttercream & Symbiosis: Joon Oluchi Lee's Neotenica

Lee’s metaphors are unexpected and delightful. He trains an obsessive eye on textures and colors, breathing neuroticisms into his characters by describing the clothing in their closets and the furniture in their apartments. Although this uninhibited detailing alongside a wan plotline makes the prose read as uneven at times, Neotenica’s form is primarily experimental.

Emily Hashimoto's A World Between

In 2004, Eleanor Suzuki sees Leena Shah in an elevator in their college dorm. For Eleanor, it’s love at first sight (or at least young lust); Leena isn’t so sure. From that moment, we see the development of their friendship, intense love affair, its collapse, and later coincidental meetings that complicate both their lives.

Sulaiman Addonia's Silence Is My Mother Tongue

Just shy of puberty, Saba suffers all sorts of disorientation, even at first sight of her family hut: “Aren’t refugee camps built with tents?” Later, between the huts, she gets lost in “alleyways… a labyrinth.” Complicating matters, by local standards Saba’s a mongrel, “Eritrean-Ethiopian… half from an occupied country and the other half from the occupying.”

Transcendent Kingdom

Yaa Gyasi’s second novel, Transcendent Kingdom, blends science and religion, the past and present, in a story about a small Ghanaian family that immigrates to Alabama.

The Bass Rock

Like any good gothic novel, there is a dark old house full of noises and things that go bump in the night, there are ghosts and there are witches. But these are not malevolent ghosts and the witches are there to resist, to protect, and to balance male violence.

Elena Ferrante's The Lying Life of Adults

A “violent” intensity might erupt at any minute, an adolescent mood swing might hit like a tsunami, and yet the story maintains a canny and scrupulous realism. This author couldn’t be more alert to psychology’s delusions and society’s con games. She’s both a cool cat and a bleeding heart, combining both in passage after passage that, just for starters, speak volumes about the skill and vitality Ann Goldstein brings to her translation.

Red Pill

Hari Kunzru's sixth novel is loaded with pop-culture allusions, political buzz phrases, and snippets of writing from historical characters, all hovering around a backdrop of far-right social manipulation.

In Conversation

THERESIA ENZENSBERGER with Elvia Wilk

On the occasion of Blueprint’s translation into English, we talked about how to write Nazi characters who aren’t clichés; about reviving the legacy of overlooked women artists and architects; about why fiction can be truer than reality—and about how our current political debates and challenges are not so far from those of 100 years ago.

In Conversation

KATHLEEN ROONEY with Robert Puccinelli

This enchanting journey begins like a fairy tale, then descends into the horrific maelstrom of the first World War, then sets us free contemplating our interconnectedness across time, across history, across borders, and across biologies. It is not about the present moment, yet it is—very much so.

In Conversation

JESSICA GROSS with David Burr Gerrard

This propulsive and playful book, Hysteria—which is reminiscent of the work of Philip Roth and the feverish novellas of Elena Ferrante—demands to be read in one sitting. I read it one night at the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown.

In Conversation

Statement of Record: A Conversation with StatORec Editors Andrea Scrima and David Winner in conversation with Rebecca Chace

“This is why literary magazines remain crucial in times of crisis. You walk that tightrope by providing readers with a range of responses to the world around us, and the magazine becomes a place to engage in challenging, revealing conversations.”

Benjamin Taylor's Here We Are

There is more to the phrase “here we are” than its lack of varnish. It addresses the question that hovers over this memoir and over most of Roth’s work—of how to face death when one believes that there is no life after death, when the atheists’ booth looks so sad.

Steven Belletto's The Beats: A Literary History

Fresh on the scene with outstanding readings of key work, and valuable inclusion of an army of poets and marginalized, artsy types associated with the beat movement—it’s great to be reminded of Ted Joans, Alan Ansen, Tuli Kupferberg, Harold Norse, poets and wonderful “characters”—Belletto makes a good case for why Beat writing remains relevant, vital.

I Hold a Wolf by the Ears

Laura van den Berg’s latest short story collection, I Hold a Wolf by the Ears, focuses on women trying to cope with whatever life brings them, which is usually something traumatic, sexist, and violent.

Neeli Cherkovski's Hang On To The Yangtze River

“I want to be a dead poet / alive beyond life.” And that he is, alive beyond life, and in reading many of the poems of this book you get the sense of what a variegated and rich person Neeli is, a keen observer of life’s frailties and joys, both sexual and meditative, unafraid of admitting his own doubts and perplexities in the face of a society that is becoming more technologically advanced and incrementally crueler and more impersonal, even as the planet plunges toward its possible extinction.

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The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2020

All Issues