How Awful Is It? Liz Nugent’s Little Cruelties (2020)

2020-11-12T12:47:19-05:00

Betty Smith gave simple advice to writers: “First: Be understanding always. Keep the understanding you have and add on to it.” As the author of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1943)—a best-selling novel that challenged the myth of poverty as a choice, and allowed low/no-wage characters to demonstrate courage

How Awful Is It? Liz Nugent’s Little Cruelties (2020)2020-11-12T12:47:19-05:00

Pursuit: Gil Adamson’s Ridgerunner (2020)

2020-10-07T18:25:21-05:00

I read Gil Adamson’s The Outlander (2007) in February 2009, on my daily subway commute, and on the afternoon that I was nearly finished reading, I started a conversation about it with another commuter, who was also reading it. I waited until I’d moved towards the door, prepared to

Pursuit: Gil Adamson’s Ridgerunner (2020)2020-10-07T18:25:21-05:00

Precision: Souvankham Thammavongsa’s How to Pronounce Knife (2020)

2020-09-30T11:46:07-05:00

If you are considering whether or not to read Souvankham Thammavongsa’s collection of stories, you probably already know how to do it, how to pronounce the word ‘knife’. Readers of How to Pronounce Knife will not find solutions to age-old problems or innovation; readers will find clarity and acuity,

Precision: Souvankham Thammavongsa’s How to Pronounce Knife (2020)2020-09-30T11:46:07-05:00

Mavis Gallant’s “The Fenton Child”

2020-06-19T15:53:33-05:00

“‘Newborn, they’ve got these huge peckers,’ said Mr. Fenton. ‘I mean, really developed.’” When it comes to writing about Mavis Gallant’s short stories, I often want to begin with their first sentences. Sometimes there is such a swell of emotion at the story’s end, a marvelling at how entire

Mavis Gallant’s “The Fenton Child”2020-06-19T15:53:33-05:00

Dear Reader: What’s Told? Or, the Telling of It?

2020-05-15T15:05:12-05:00

In my recent reading, it’s been as much about how the story is told as it’s been about the story itself. This certainly isn’t a new idea—these examples span three decades—but sometimes the phenomenon is more prevalent in my stacks. Maybe you’ve read some of these, or maybe

Dear Reader: What’s Told? Or, the Telling of It?2020-05-15T15:05:12-05:00
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