Tag: Fiction

Olga Tokarczuk’s Gripping Eco-Mystery

Murder mysteries, however else they might differ, rely on one major, shared belief: that murder matters, and is worth looking into. Whoever did the killing, whoever was killed, the investigation moves forward because the people inside the story and those outside of it, following along as the clues unfold, agree that the murder has moral […]

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The MAGA Plot

Ben Lerner writes novels about Ben Lerner. This sentence might have once sounded like a criticism. But since writing that collapses the distance between fiction and author—so-called autofiction—is au courant, it is nearer an endorsement. The hero of Lerner’s debut novel, 2011’s Leaving the Atocha Station, is a poet named Adam Gordon. He’s anxiety-ridden, callow, and […]

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How Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Novel Reckons With the Past

Eight years ago, Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote an essay in The Atlantic asking why so few black people studied the Civil War. Coates noted that he himself had only recently become an avid reader of Civil War history, and along with it, a student of the larger system that propelled it into motion: slavery. The reason for […]

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The Installation

Nothing highlights the egregious growth of inequality in the nation quite like pharmaceutical executives becoming vastly wealthy by selling addictive drugs to the poor. What if this repulsive ongoing travesty took on a physical dimension, that we could see, feel, *smell*? That’s what writer, artist, and acclaimed experimental musician Terence Hannum imagines in today’s horrifying […]

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Natalia Ginzburg’s Radical Clarity

Fact and fiction are interminably wound up in Natalia Ginzburg’s novels. In a preface to an early novel, Voices In The Evening, she clarified that the characters in the story “are not alive, nor have ever lived, in any part of the world.” Family Lexicon, the most autobiographical of Ginzburg’s books, was to be read […]

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Gregor Von Rezzori’s Vast Postwar Masterpiece

If you put a gun to my head and asked me to describe Gregor von Rezzori’s Abel and Cain in three sentences, this is what I would answer: Murder. Murder. Murder. First-, second-, and third-degree: premeditated, unpremeditated, involuntary. Fratricide, sororicide, parricide. Genocide, historicide, deicide. ABEL AND CAIN by Gregor von RezzoriNYRB Classics, 880 pp., $24.95 […]

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