If there is a way forward for the “pandemic novel,” it may be in Emma Donoghue’s claustrophobic settings of motherhood and childbirth.
Editors: Jesse McCarthy & Tara K. Menon
Past Editor: Nicholas Dames
Letting Go of Thomas Cromwell
If Hillary Mantel herself can’t bear to part with her well-beloved protagonist, how on earth should the rest of us?
Re-embodying Palestinian Memory
A recent flourishing of Palestinian literature reckons with complications in historical memory caused by settler colonialism.
Stop Reading like a Critic
Think about your favorite book. Now ask yourself: Would you admit this to others? Most would share—but literature professors are not most people.
Who Killed Nordic Noir?
Scandinavian crime novels once showed how society failed its citizens. Today, the genre innovates differently—by depicting more violence.
Is American Fiction Too Provincial?
While most American fiction focuses on national concerns, its high-end, prize-winning fiction looks around the globe. Why the divide?
How to Fake a 19th-Century Novel
If Cloud Atlas is any guide, one of the best ways to sound like a bygone novelist is to make your narrator sound like a racist.
Ferrante Breaks the Frame
A defaced family photograph—with an ancestor cut out—reveals to Ferrante’s new protagonist how women are erased by the words and deeds of men.
The Once and Future Temp
What can the history of the temp-work industry teach us about the precarity of modern working life?
The Spy Who Read Me
Women writing about women spies who are, themselves, writing. What’s next for women’s espionage writing?
The Worst of All Possible Worlds?
The most interesting science fiction is not about the future at all but about the present.
What Women Want
#MeToo has revived an enduring feminist question: What do women want, and how can they get it?
Greenwell’s “Cleanness”: From Debt to Care
Garth Greenwell challenges readers to see how sex—especially for queer people—might be an act of difficult but healing care.
Safe at Home in Late Capitalism
Baseball is ideal for explaining American economic precarity: the players try desperately to get home safe, but almost always fail to do so.
“The Places Where Things Blur”: Namwali Serpell on “The Old Drift”
“One of the reasons it took so long to write is that—as I would joke with my friends—I found myself writing the great Zambian novel.”
Motherhood and Other Monsters
In The Babadook and The Need, the introduction of a monster amplifies preexisting anxieties, rather than generating fresh ones.
Nancy Hale, at Last
Hale’s stories reveal that the woman who’s right is still the one kept up at night.
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 ...
Writing the Latinx Bildungsroman
Before our eyes, US Latinx writers are inventing a new form of the novel. The classic bildungsroman, or novel of education and development, typically ...
Stephen McCauley on What Makes a Comic Novel
Stephen McCauley is the author of a bevy—a raft, even—of beloved comic novels. Recent ones include My Ex-Life, Alternatives to Sex, and ...