Tag: Fiction

The Down Days Is an Eerily Prescient Pandemic Novel

In 1962, at a girl’s boarding school in rural Tanganyika (present-day Tanzania), three students started laughing. When the teachers tried to get them to stop, the girls became violent. One became so overtaken with laughter that she started undressing; she was hospitalized for three days and treated with valium. Soon, almost the entire school began […]

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The Unsuitable Passions of J.M. Coetzee

Men and their desires. Do we really need more on the subject? It is ground that has been plowed so often, by Roth, Updike, and others who came of age during the sexual revolution and its aftermath. These writers practically exhausted the English language exploring every aspect of their desire: David Foster Wallace, back in […]

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How Normal People Captures a Hyper-Aware Romance

In the three years since her first novel was published, the 29-year-old Irish writer Sally Rooney has been called variously “the Jane Austen of the precariat,” “Salinger for the Snapchat generation,” the author of “an Instagram status symbol.” These effusions tend to emphasize that she is young, she understands being online, and she can write […]

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The Limits of the Confessional Novel

Four women, all single mothers, are drinking wine together. As often happens when people sit in the same room sharing the same alcohol, they begin to exchange stories. Each woman chooses the pivotal moment in her life when a certain domestic situation—“kid and no partner”—became “inevitable.” Each narrates to the others how, or when, “it […]

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