Tag: Trauma

Sexuality, Counterfactually

Larry Kramer’s The American People, Volume 1: Search for My Heart is not all that interested in the history of sexuality. At first glance this might seem an odd assertion to make about a novel that ...

Modiano’s Memoryscapes

Patrick Modiano’s reputation as a writer of wartime Paris was sealed in 2014 by the Nobel Prize, which recognized him “for the art of memory with which he has evoked the most ungraspable human destinies ...”

The Stranger’s Voice

The Sympathizer, Viet Thanh Nguyen’s riveting debut novel, is a chronicle of war wrapped in a spy thriller and tucked inside a confession. It is also a political satire, a send-up of Hollywood, and a ...

China at World’s End

In a galaxy far away, but close enough, an intelligent alien civilization finally realizes that its planet orbits around three suns instead of one. They face the classic three-body problem of ...

Love and Death in Indian Country

At its core, David Treuer’s latest novel is a tale of unrequited love and random violence. The stuff of melodrama, to be sure, but in Treuer’s skillful, multi-vocal telling, neither love nor death ...

The Body Always Remembers

In a recent article in the Atlantic, Leslie Jamison discusses the memoirist’s responsibility to investigate the events of his or her past on the page rather than merely confess to them.1 She writes ...

Kim Thúy: A Way with Words

Over the past five years, Kim Thúy has become one of the best known and most celebrated francophone writers of the Vietnamese diaspora. Born in 1968, Thúy fled Vietnam by boat at the age of 10. After ...

Caught in the Game

The Cambodian filmmaker Rithy Panh devotes just over a minute of his documentary, The Missing Picture (released in the US in March), to the work of Ang Saroeung, a Khmer Rouge cameraman who filmed ...

Beautiful Disaster

Hurricane Sandy, like many disasters today, was a media event. Striking images flashed across screens. The skyline divided into light and dark. Small groups of people huddled around power strips ...

Dream Girls

Hilton Als’s White Girls is a disorienting book. If traditional biography aspires to capture the person behind the scrim of myth, Als prefers to linger on the scrim itself—the fantasy, the persona ...

Sentient Instruments

Things had been tough since Dee got back from Iraq. She and her husband were sleeping on opposite sides of the bed. “I’m sorry you’re not getting laid,” she snapped at him, “but I’m still seeing my ...

The North Is the Dark Place

“The North is the dark place.” The first words of The Daylight Gate will not be surprising to readers familiar with Jeanette Winterson’s gothic upbringing in the north of England (200 Water Street ...

Periphery to Periphery

Paris, New York, and London: these are the world literary capitals that have historically attracted and nurtured aspiring artists, who in turn have mythologized such cities by lovingly evoking them ...

Less Vital Phenomena

A recent New York Times profile of Anthony Marra, the author of A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, notes that “until the Boston Marathon bombings most Americans paid little attention to Chechnya.”1 ...

Animal Feelings

We read stories of how, after losing their companions, dogs and bunnies refuse to eat; ducks and horses exhibit nervousness and social anxiety; dolphins strand themselves ...

Up From the Shadows

“Aren’t archives supposed to be forever? Well, forever’s a meaningless concept in Asia. Here, only the present is eternal.” So we read early on in Sandi Tan’s debut novel, The Black Isle, a ...

To Lose Everything (To War)

“What is it like to lose everything?” the young protagonist of Stephen Dau’s first novel, The Book of Jonas, is asked again and again by those hoping to fathom his experience of losing his entire ...

Landscape with Corpses

Pat Barker’s Toby’s Room is a stunning and disturbing novel of and about nightmares. Early on, the protagonist, Elinor Brooke, slashes off her hair in an act of vengeance against her femininity, then ...