Research Notes

Potted Meat by Steven Dunn

Potted Meat is two-fold, the first being a symbol of poverty. Secondly, it was always interesting to me how the label on a can of Potted Meat presents itself as gourmet, but when you read the ingredients and open the can, there’s a different story.


The Barren Trophy Wife Makes Tea by Maria Pinto

He says she destroys everything. He doesn’t mean this as mordantly as she takes it, but that doesn’t matter, his words sink to her marrow.


The Red Car & Dodge and Burn

From our bookshelf, two recent novels by Marcy Dermansky and Seraphina Madsen, both about complicated women on the road.

Book Reviews

Blackass by A. Igoni Barrett

Blackass is a fresh and compelling exploration of blackness (and whiteness) in current-day Nigeria. A. Igoni Barrett’s debut novel balances strong roots in literary and cultural history with a comprehensive portrait of a twenty-first century life.

Research Notes

Laurie Blauner on The Solace of Monsters

I, like my character Mara F, in my new novel The Solace of Monsters am composed of all the books I’ve ever read, including the ones I have forgotten.

Translation Notes

Rachel Miranda Feingold on Chasing the Sun: Working with Hana Andronikova’s The Sound of the Sundial

I first experienced the English language as something intimate and familial. I was born in Zurich, the middle child of American expatriates, and while my parents spoke and read English to me, I conversed with my childhood friends in a spoken-only dialect called Schwiitzerdütsch (Swiss German).


Just-in-Case Stones by Mallory McMahon

She picked up her first stone when she was seven years old. As she leaped to avoid cracks in the sidewalk, she noticed the speckled, pinkish rock in the center of a concrete square, as though an unseen hand had tossed it into her strange, solitary hopscotch game.

Book Reviews

The Prose of the Mountains by Aleksandre Qazbegi, tr Rebecca Gould

The Prose of the Mountains is an ode to and a chronicle of the life of the Moxeves, the Georgian mountaineers of the region of Xevi. Aleksandre Qazbegi (1848-1893) experienced it first-hand, living as a shepherd in the mountains for seven years.

Research Notes

Allegra Hyde on Of This New World

Fiction doesn’t happen in a vacuum. For all the imagination involved, a writer’s lived experience provides the soil — and sometimes the seed — for a story to bloom.

Book Reviews

Bad Faith by Theodore Wheeler

Most of the characters in Bad Faith aren’t nice, and Wheeler plumbs that not-niceness throughout. The Pythagoreans talked of good as definite and finite, and evil and indefinite and infinite. Niceness may make for a slogan, and a friendly face to provide directions, but it is often just a veneer.

Research Notes

Robert Hill on The Remnants

I set out to write a story free of the contemporary canon of issues: no career angst, no philosophical quandaries that would lead one to pose such imponderables as to gluten or not to gluten, where no character sits on a political knife edge, nor is anyone torn by a sense of wanderlust that might compel them out of hybrid comfort into a more exciting life.