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Carissa Chesanek

Carissa Chesanek is a writer in New York City with an MFA from The New School. Her work has appeared in Electric Literature, PANK Magazine, The Rumpus, among others.

A Woman’s Worth

We see particular impact of womanly influence in three new literary works (a book of short stories, a memoir, and a novel), all possessing a familiar theme of women in society and the female influences we find every day.

Clare Chambers’s Small Pleasures

Sometimes people come into our life and help us find the truth we have been searching for all along. Clare Chambers (Learning to Swim) explores that idea in her latest novel, Small Pleasures, while keeping us entertained in a mystery behind an alleged miracle.

Stephanie Gangi’s Carry the Dog

In her second novel, the rambunctious and moving Carry the Dog, Gangi shows us how uncovering the truth to our past can push us to live better lives in the present.

Elissa Bassist’s Hysterical

Women, if you’re not already angry at this world, you will be after reading Elissa Bassist’s debut memoir, Hysterical—and for good reason.

Jill Bialosky’s The Deceptions

In her latest novel, The Deceptions, Jill Bialosky (History of a Suicide: My Sister’s Unfinished Life) explores the cost of desire with an unnamed female protagonist on the quest for freedom and hope. 

In Conversation

Tiffany McDaniel with Carissa Chesanek

I first learned of Tiffany McDaniel’s work while shopping around in a bookstore one hot summer years ago. I picked up what I considered a fitting title for that late August, McDaniel’s first novel, The Summer That Melted Everything. What I didn’t expect was to fall desperately for her writing: the lush sentences, the specific details, and the characters that did melt your heart. She isn’t afraid to tackle tough subjects, such as race, class, abuse, and trauma, and the impact our actions can have on everyone around us. McDaniel has a knack for creating characters you can’t help but want to follow and root for by making even those unrelatable, relatable.

In Conversation


The horror genre is regaining major popularity. Despite living in these uncertain times, readers are now, more than ever, eager to get lost in something spooky. Goodreads reported there was a massive uptick in horror over the summer with books in the genre labeled as “the most anticipated” for readers.

Ida Jessen’s A Postcard for Annie

The Danish writer Ida Jessen (A Change of Time) masterfully explores the female voice in her latest short story collection, A Postcard for Annie. There are six stories in total, which are all remarkably real and relatable. At first, these stories may seem even too mundane with everyday chores of cooking and cleaning, fighting with one’s spouse, or listening to a son badmouth his mother.

Jonathan Lee’s The Great Mistake

The Great Mistake, a new novel by Jonathan Lee (High Dive), is about the life and death of Andrew Haswell Green, the fictional character who created New York. The narrator tells the story of “New York’s Famous Creator,” walking us through the steps that lead to his untimely death in 1903, while uncovering Andrew’s quiet and oftentimes lonely world.

Jamie Figueroa’s Brother, Sister, Mother, Explorer

Jamie Figueroa's debut novel, Brother, Sister, Mother, Explorer depicts the impact of trauma and loss within a family.

Kevin Carey’s Murder in the Marsh

Kevin Carey’s latest novel, Murder in the Marsh, is everything you could want in crime noir. It’s gritty and face-paced, centering around a “murky marsh” and a down-and-out detective with a fuzzy past that haunts him.

Nicole Krauss’s To Be a Man

Nicole Krauss’s latest book, To Be a Man, is the author’s very first short story collection. As the title suggests, each story incorporates an awareness of masculinity and all its power, while relating to the roles of women. But the collection isn’t merely about driving one gender against the other. There’s much more to it than that. Each story provides a sense of connection between real people and their everyday lives, much like the author’s former books, including the William Saroyan International Prize Winner, The History of Love.

Jami Attenberg’s I Came All This Way to Meet You: Writing Myself Home

Jami Attenberg’s (The Middlesteins) new memoir, I Came All This Way to Meet You: Writing Myself Home, is sort of a manifesto to the struggling writer. Well, at least it was for me. Each chapter explored the complications of pursuing creativity while getting knocked down in the process, both by the industry and by self-doubt, only to finally achieve some success and wonder what it all really means. 

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.


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2023

All Issues