Someone spoke of Stephanie LaCavas voice in her new novel I Fear My Pain Interests You as hard, clipped, and cool. Its the liquid flush of the voice undulating beneath the veneer of the books punky mask that drew me in.
In the 1990s, Daniel Clowes’s wildly creative, darkly funny Eightball comics were a must read.
In Jazzed, Jill Dearman blows open the doors to a New York City of the 1920s bursting with possibility, erotic adventure, and (almost inevitably) danger.
Michael J. Seidlingers Anybody Home? and Dashiel Carreras The Deer both deliver the goods, Im happy to say; they prickle the back-hairs deliciously. Whats more, the dreadful material is matched by unsettling craft.
And now, as though to spit in the eye of every film critic to publish a word in the New York Times or The New Yorker, Ander Monson offers a book-length close read of John McTiernans Predator (1987).
The hardest part of being a writer is learning how to survive the dark nights of the soul, Charles Baxter writes about halfway through his new book, Wonderlands: Essays on the Life of Literature. This isnt Baxters first book about writing and the life of the writer as an artist.
The recent knife attack on Salman Rushdie was not only appalling, it also shook many of us out of a sort of complacency regarding his situation: thirty plus years after the pronouncement of the Iranian Fatwā against the author of The Satanic Verses, when all the noise and the danger seemed to have died down and Rushdie had been moving around freely and publicly for more than a decade, this assassination attempt came as a complete surprise.
This novels sonorous title, we learn towards the end, comes from the Catholic Confirmation liturgy: a prayer out of Europe, hundreds of years old. Yet before we finish the books first page, we know that the children in question come from central Africa, and that what scattered them was a latter-day genocide. Not quite thirty years ago now, Rwandan Hutus slaughtered their Tutsi neighbors mercilessly, in perhaps the worlds ugliest recent outbreak of tribal hatred.
Adam McOmbers Fantasy Kit is a slender compilation of thirty-five flash-length stories that are predominantly gothic in subject matter, surrealist in method, and genuinely unsettling in effect. The story The Cornfieldstands apart for its realism, and yet clearly has much to say about the collection as a whole.
Women, if youre not already angry at this world, you will be after reading Elissa Bassists debut memoir, Hystericaland for good reason.
The last time Judith Baumel and I engaged in conversation via the Brooklyn Rail was February 2020, during the before times. When Covid took over, life seemed to be in the breakdown lane, but that didnt stop Baumel. She geared up an eclectic group of scholars and writers and artists for weekly Zoom conversations focused on the classics and, line by line, they made their way through Dante's Divine Comedy and are now halfway through Ovid's Metamorphoses.
How to become a no-stats all-star, the player on the team whose presence alone causes magical outcomes? Outcomes like magical poetry, Id say, somehow abra-cadabrad out of throwaway material. Everyday detritus, especially those chuckle-worthy quirks of thought so quickly forgotten, gone like a glimpse out the window of the L⎯ Chicago provides most details of place⎯ all play the muse for Kathleen Rooney.