Tag: Grief

A Tapestry of Black Lives

James Baldwin’s legacy looms powerfully in this current moment. This may be all the more true for black writers. Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah, one of the contributors to Jesmyn Ward’s timely new anthology ...

A Tapestry of Black Lives

James Baldwin’s legacy looms powerfully in this current moment. This may be all the more true for black writers. Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah, one of the contributors to Jesmyn Ward’s timely new anthology ...

Louise Erdrich’s Hard Facts

Early on in Louise Erdrich’s most recent novel, LaRose, the priest on the reservation articulates a worldview that encapsulates an enduring theme of this novelist’s work: “some people would try their ...

The Afterlife of Agent Orange

“All wars are fought twice,” writes Viet Thanh Nguyen in Nothing Ever Dies, “the first time on the battlefield, the second time in memory.” Even decades after the first war ends, the second war can ...

Building Up the Alphabet Again

I am reading an interview with Mahasweta Devi from 2002.1 At 75, having won renown for her fiction about the lives of peripheral peoples, she is full of delight at her continued discoveries: “I do ...

Disability Narratives

Ask most people living with a disability to name their least favorite question and “what happened to you?” will be high on the list. “Wanting to educate yourself about disability and learn more is ...

Live Through This

I used to refer to my dark times as the IWTDs, when the mental refrain I want to die so dominated my thoughts that I took to writing the acronym in the margins of books I was reading. It was a huge ...

Transplant Melodrama

Maylis de Kerangal’s Réparer les vivants, beautifully translated into English by Sam Taylor and published as The Heart, has been something of a publishing sensation in France, and beyond. I am ...

Shakespeare in 2016

Over the last four centuries, we’ve reinvented Shakespeare to suit our purposes, much as Shakespeare borrowed from his past to do the same.1 2016 commemorates the four hundredth anniversary of ...

Sex, Violence, and “The Vegetarian”

The verdict is in. Han Kang’s The Vegetarian has not only received glowing praise from British and American literary supplements; it has become the first Korean novel to be shortlisted for a Booker ...

Show Me Where It Hurts: Part 2

In this second part of my survey of the growing field of graphic medicine, I review four recent nonfiction books about health, illness, recovery and loss. These books vary in many respects—in their ...

China at World’s End

In a galaxy far away, but close enough, an intelligent alien civilization finally realizes that its planet orbits around three suns instead of one. They face the classic three-body problem of ...

Unstill Life

English nature writing has never been all that natural. While their American counterparts tend to imagine natural landscapes as “the last remaining place where civilization … has not fully infected ...

Walking with the Unconsoled

What can we expect imaginative writing to do in the face of unalleviated grief? If one of fiction’s strengths remains its expression of irreducibly singular minds, what role then might it play in ...

Blue Peter: On Peter Gizzi

Brice Marden used beeswax to kill the reflective luster of his triptych color panels. Ad Reinhardt leeched the gloss out of his chromatic blacks. Jasper Johns accreted his white flags with matte ...

How the 9/11 Museum Gets Us

There was little choice. From the earliest conceptions of what would be done at Ground Zero, there would be one. A museum. And now here it is, the National September 11 Memorial Museum, which opened ...