Tag: Fiction

Claire Messud’s Noble Lie

In the bouquet of novel typologies—the picaresque, the Künstlerroman, the Zeitroman, the novel of ideas, magical realism, hysterical realism, “experimental” anything—the bildungsroman is the least ...

The Devil Wears Pravda

In the mid-1930s, amid the Second World War and the Great Depression, competing forms of internationalism—the Communist International, Black Internationalism, the League of Nations—defined the ...

Ordinary People

One fantasy of modernism is telling all there is to tell about the most ordinary of lives. On a train journey from Richmond to Waterloo Station, Virginia Woolf watched “an old lady in the corner ...

Slavery Was No Opera

“This was no love story,” Nikky Finney cautions us in “Pluck.” The poem from her 1995 collection, Rice, is a repudiation of Hollywood’s insidious fantasies about sex and American slavery. Prompted by …

Our Migrant World

Within the rhetorical toolbox of contemporary political discourse, the language used to characterize international migration, refugee crises, and border crossings might fairly be called impoverished ...

The Murder of Theory

Reports of theory’s death have been greatly exaggerated, but new villains keep on attempting its murder. Those who would vanquish abstraction with description, trade jargon for vernacular, and ...

Great Aspirations

Chetan Bhagat is possibly the most successful Indian English novelist ever, having sold over seven million copies of his books over a relatively short career. But he is largely unheard of in the ...

Cursed Masculinity

Masculinity is a curse. This, at least, is the driving conceit behind Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi’s Ugandan epic, Kintu, published in Kenya by the Kwani Trust in 2014, and in the US by Transit Books ...

Empathy Is Not Enough

Almost 30 years ago, education researcher and children’s literature scholar Rudine Sims Bishop introduced an analogy that has been widely embraced by the librarians, teachers, artists, and scholars ...

Wild States of Being

A lacquered blue cube and a cat named Labes: these nonhuman characters shed unforgiving light on human frailty in the wrenching new novel by Italian writer Domenico Starnone, Ties, scrupulously ...

Future Shocks

“The future’s not what it used to be,” sings Mickey Newbury in his 1971 hit of the same name. His song frames this witticism in romantically personal terms, but the insight has broad applicability ...

American Storyteller

What makes American life meaningful? Apple products? Cat videos? Torrential pornography? The prospect of a lavish retirement? The senior prom? Forestalling your plunge into poverty? Prescription ...