Tag: Secrets

The Ferrante Paradox

Reading Frantumaglia, the new collection of letters, interviews, and occasional prose from Elena Ferrante, I was struck by how often the author opened her correspondence with an apology. “I apologize ...

The Model-Minority Bubble

Perhaps the most famous shopping trip in American literature can be found in Don DeLillo’s 1985 novel White Noise. Wounded by a colleague’s unflattering assessment of his appearance, Jack Gladney ...

All About My Mother

In her canonical 1939 essay, “A Sketch of the Past,” Virginia Woolf wonders how a coherent past may be reconstructed from countless angles, styles, and past selves. How do we choose from so many ...

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 ...

Perestroika Blues

Now nearing the end of its fourth season, The Americans is a confounding success. It’s hard to figure out which of its triumphs is the most unlikely: that it has millions of Americans rooting for KGB ...

Murderous Schoolgirls

While little girls may be made of sugar and spice and everything nice, in fiction the teenagers they grow into are anything but. We are drawn to stories where girls are scandalous, promiscuous, and ...

Passing Beauty

How do you break a spell? How do you get over the grief of racial, gendered, and childhood injuries? Helen Oyeyemi’s novel Boy, Snow, Bird is not a black-and-white parable but a black-and-blue story ...

Jean Stafford, Antisocialite

Alice Munro’s Nobel Prize last fall was hailed as a victory for the novel’s neglected stepsister, the short story. What struck me most about Munro’s win was how well she has fared by following a ...

Her Mother and Herself

Do you hear a sound like rolling surf in the self-help section labeled “Family”? It’s what a sea change sounds like in its early stages, when one paradigm is fading away and another surging forward ...