Literary Fiction

Current Editor: Nicholas Dames

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 ...

Who Is Sick and Who Is Well?

I might be tempted to describe Terese Mailhot’s new memoir, Heart Berries, as “raw,” had she not warned against it. “The danger politically or artistically is that ...

Birth of a Mother

What exactly is motherhood? I’ve been mulling it over the past few months, during which time I again experienced pregnancy and childbirth, and again dealt with the confusion and sleep deprivation ...

Purgatory Is for Real

If heaven, as the Talking Heads lyric puts it, is a place where nothing ever happens, it has nevertheless powered numerous books up American best-seller lists. In the past decade, several titles have ...

Ondaatje’s Long War

In a scathing review of The English Patient, Hilary Mantel called Michael Ondaatje’s most feted work “uneven, unresolved, unsatisfactory.” Her criticism has since become a regular complaint about the ...

Brexit or Utopia?

Ali Smith’s Autumn, the first installment of a four-volume “seasonal quartet” that now continues with Winter, was hailed on its release as “the first great Brexit novel.” As any reader of the book knows, there ...

Nurturing the Margins

“Wherever you are, I hope you are safe and know I loved you enough to write you this book,” Catherine Hernandez writes in the opening pages of her debut novel, Scarborough. While the dedication ...

The Sisters Grimm

Can a centuries-old literary tradition tell us anything useful about modern life? The continuing vitality of the fairy tale in contemporary culture would suggest an emphatic yes. And the vast ...

What Is at Stake in Yemen?

As a commodity in the United States, coffee has gone through three waves. In the early 20th century, with the advent of mass production and vacuum packaging ...