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Joseph Peschel

Joseph Peschel, a freelance writer and critic in South Dakota, can be reached at [email protected] or through his blog at

Ross Barkan’s Demolition Night

Demolition Night, Ross Barkan’s first novel, tells the story of a not-too-distant, dystopic future so terrible for most people that a young woman and her friend go back in time to change the future by killing the woman who gave birth to America’s despot president.

Ian Frisch's Magic is Dead

Ian Frisch, a young Brooklyn freelance journalist, expected only a long article about the "mind of a magician" to emerge from his contacts with underground magic performers. Frisch has written for The New Yorker, the New York Times, Playboy, and Wired.

Colson Whitehead's The Nickel Boys

Whitehead’s newest novel The Nickel Boys, is a realistic depiction of another era in African-American history: the post Jim Crow era in Florida, and it’s set primarily in the 1960s and 1970s.

T.C. Boyle's Outside Looking In

Few living, serious novelists know more about magic mushrooms and LSD-25 than T. Coraghessan Boyle. The author of Drop City (2005) and a trove of other fiction even looks the part.

Karen Russell's Orange World and Other Stories

With her third story collection, Orange World, Karen Russell continues to create a fictive world where fantasy, horror, humor, science-fiction, and realism co-exist.

Run Me To Earth

Paul Yoon’s new novel, his second, Run Me to Earth, takes place during the Laotian Civil War. While the Vietnam War rages on, Laos is engaged in a civil war between the Soviet-supported, communist Pathet Lao and the American-backed Royal Lao Government throughout the 1960s and early 1970s.

Lily Tuck’s Heathcliff Redux: A Novella and Stories

The collection’s best story is “Carl Schurz Park,” which concerns a murder and one of the murderers. In other stories, a woman finds a dead swan; people pictured in a 1950s photograph inspire a character study; and a fellow called Yann Johansen harasses a woman, once a Rajneeshee cultist, with odd and accusatory emails.

Where We Come From by Oscar Cásares

“Every morning there’s a long line of women on the bridge coming over to work, and then at night they go back across to their families in Matamoros. Right or wrong, legal or illegal, seen or ignored, that’s how things work here.”

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.

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.


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2020

All Issues