South African literature has long struggled to become drought-resistant: its plotlines, and even its paper production, presuppose abundant water.
Tag: Literary Fiction
On Our Nightstands: July 2021
A behind-the-scenes look at what Public Books editors and staff have been reading this month.
A Messy Utopia Is All We Might Get
Climate change didn’t just wreck the planet; it closed off and reshaped the future. Even utopia—if we reach it—will be a mess.
The Perspective Is the Story
Jenny Erpenbeck’s fiction is an attempt to grasp the underlying precariousness of our sense of identity and belonging.
Mother of a Pandemic
If there is a way forward for the “pandemic novel,” it may be in Emma Donoghue’s claustrophobic settings of motherhood and childbirth.
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?
Isolation and the Incomplete
Assemblage in search of insight is the guiding ethos at the heart of two dynamic recently published books by Mexican authors.
The Spy Who Read Me
Women writing about women spies who are, themselves, writing. What’s next for women’s espionage writing?
“Echo” and the Problem of Chess Problems
When looking at both art and life, we recognize patterns and then we learn what those patterns signify.
MAGA: Margaret Atwood’s Gilead Again
Margaret Atwood has argued that there is “within each utopia, a concealed dystopia; within each dystopia, a hidden utopia, if only in the form of the world as it ...
The Immigration Crisis Archive
Back in 1954, the Eisenhower administration shut down the US government’s last remaining long-term immigrant holding facility, an ...
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 ...
When Dogs Bite
“I could tell you that I was beating the dog because I was beaten, that I was six and stupid and knew no better,” Marwand recounts to his cousin Zia in eastern Afghanistan. “But here is the other ...
The Return of the Surrealist Women
In Leonora Carrington’s novel The Hearing Trumpet, a woman, Carmella, revels in sending letters to strangers ...
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 ...
Fairy Tales of Race and Nation
In its own allusive way, Helen Oyeyemi’s Gingerbread considers the imminent departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union. A textbook in ...
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 ...
We Are All King Lear’s Children
Which is Shakespeare’s timeliest play—the one that best mirrors our present moment? This is a perennial question, and perhaps a silly one, but we might begin an answer ...