Literary Fiction

When’s the Beef?

In Terry Bisson’s 1991 sci-fi story, “They’re Made Out of Meat,” two characters discuss alien life-forms that have been attempting to make contact with their species. The conversation returns again ...

What If Keats Had Lived?

What if John Keats—the brilliant Romantic poet, whose revolutionary lyrics blended classical myth and sensuous imagery—hadn’t died at age 25? The Warm South, a new novel by Paul Kerschen, reimagines ...

Africa “Without Amnesia”

Responses to the idea of a “post-racial” society usually follow a certain script. In most progressive circles in the US, the notion is dismissed as fantasy or delusion. In southern Africa, and ...

Surrogacy Stories

Midway through Mike Birbiglia’s latest one-man show, The New One, the ceiling above the stage opens and various baby paraphernalia cascade onto the stage floor. An oversized stuffed bear, a breast ...

Killing Joke

Some things you fall for a little too fast and a little too hard. Not that long ago, a novelist friend urged this novel on me, the way your novelist friends are wont to do. “You’ll like it,” he said ...

Millennials in Beattieland

No word haunts discussions of Ann Beattie like the word generation. Once upon a time, back when novelists still had the luxury of holding their publicity at a ...

Sinkholes and Saviors

Few writers would dare to pick as the title of a collection of 11 short stories the name of a state that is home to 21 million people, more than a million alligators, countless snakes, and a few ...

Knausgaard’s Ruthless Freedom

So here it is at last: the end of Knausgaard’s struggle. It is 1,160 pages long, divided into three parts. Part 2 consists of a long essay on Hitler. Both ...