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Literary Fiction

His Own Harshest Critic

Joseph Sutton | Posted 08.08.2012 | Books
Joseph Sutton

Spurious seems committed to solving the paradox of one who has committed his life to thinking, to understanding, but on any given day would rather play Doom on his cellphone.

Apocalypse and Adolescence: The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

Ilana Teitelbaum | Posted 08.05.2012 | Books
Ilana Teitelbaum

This tragic coming-of-age story chronicles the parallel disintegrations of the world and the life and family of Julia, a sensitive 12-year-old girl living in a sleepy suburb of California.

A Mother's Dream

Honey Seltzer | Posted 08.03.2012 | Parents
Honey Seltzer

"You're my mother, of course you think I'm great. I need to hear it from someone else," my daughter told me.

Warning: Explicit Sexual Content

Ann Bauer | Posted 05.25.2012 | Books
Ann Bauer

It's an odd animal: women's literary fiction -- NOT erotica -- with a brazen, sensual and deeply flawed main character. Carmen is perpetually concerned with, touching and baring her body. Yet the sex never becomes the story; it isn't that sort of book.

"Men's Fiction" vs. "Mommy Porn"

Ester Bloom | Posted 07.23.2012 | Books
Ester Bloom

Gender distinctions in literature are arbitrary and often ass-backwards. Can women, for example, write "men's fiction"? Why not?

Crossing the Gulf: Tania James' Aerogrammes

Sean Carman | Posted 05.21.2012 | DC
Sean Carman

Like all great fiction, Tania James's stories emerge from a strange and beautiful source of inspiration, then proceed to transcend it.

Bring Up the Bodies: A Review and Interview With Booker Prize-winning Author Hilary Mantel

Ilana Teitelbaum | Posted 07.09.2012 | Books
Ilana Teitelbaum

In Bring Up the Bodies, the sequel to the Booker Prize-winning Wolf Hall, Hilary Mantel weaves a richly textured world that is at once deeply foreign and entirely relevant.

In the Garden of Good and Evil: I Am Forbidden by Anouk Markovits

Ilana Teitelbaum | Posted 07.01.2012 | Books
Ilana Teitelbaum

By avoiding the easy cliché of the cold arranged marriage, Markovits intensifies the emotional heft of the story -- and forces the reader to be moved by the characters' fates.

The Caste System of Fiction

Randy Susan Meyers | Posted 06.19.2012 | Books
Randy Susan Meyers

I've read great books, good books, mediocre books, and books so awful they damaged my eyes, and it wasn't genre that determined their ranking. Which formative reading hours would I have lost if the book police determined my choices?

A Complete Life: Miss Fuller by April Bernard

Ilana Teitelbaum | Posted 05.27.2012 | Books
Ilana Teitelbaum

In Miss Fuller, April Bernard takes a speculative scalpel to the life of Margaret Fuller, offering a narrative of her experiences that shines a harsh and unbecoming light on the male transcendentalists.

AIDS. Remember Me?

Kergan Edwards-Stout | Posted 05.12.2012 | Books
Kergan Edwards-Stout

Everyone has their own way of honoring our fallen, lost to AIDS. There is no one correct way of doing so. For me, I chose to write.

What Do Writers Want? Everything.

Lev Raphael | Posted 04.05.2012 | Books
Lev Raphael

Roxane Gay recently pointed out in Salon that all our discussions about whether women writers like best selling Jennifer Weiner don't get enough press...

Is Literary Fiction A Sham?

Maddie Crum | Posted 01.12.2012 | Books
Maddie Crum

Genre labels can kill books, and oversimplify narratives. If we aren't to group books into categories with such prejudiced or dismissible undertones, then how else can we label literature? Here are a few suggestions.

Joan Didion: Late in Life

Joe Woodward | Posted 03.11.2012 | Books
Joe Woodward

Beyond the raw details of her daughter's death, beyond her grasp to understand its aftermath and its applied metaphor, Blue Nights deals with the physical "dismantling" of Didion herself.

Please, Just Get Married Already: The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides

Ilana Teitelbaum | Posted 02.26.2012 | Books
Ilana Teitelbaum

The Marriage Plot is entertaining but I was hoping for more substance in a novel that is being hailed as a literary classic in the making.

The Circus Ringmaster: John le Carré

Athena Andreadis, Ph.D. | Posted 12.19.2011 | Arts
Athena Andreadis, Ph.D.

Le Carré succeeds in what most authors dream of but few achieve: he creates fully realized worlds inhabited by complex human beings (well, men) dealing with complex issues. He manages this without resorting to infodumps or appendices.

We The Animals: Novel Of The Year?

Richard B. Woodward | Posted 02.07.2012 | Books
Richard B. Woodward

Novels and memoirs about the damages of childhood beg to become tear-jerking orgies. What kept me reading was Torres' dry-eyed control over his material. Edited with obsessive care, he hasn't allowed that to happen.

What's My Genre, Anyway?

Ming Holden | Posted 02.04.2012 | Books
Ming Holden

The appropriation of a piece of literature to a certain genre is a process descriptive of the political moment in which the text finds itself; it's indicative of what's permitted to be described as fact in a particular cultural atmosphere, whether it's intended to be or not.

Americans Still Lead the World in Self Regard, Latest Poll

Gail Vida Hamburg | Posted 01.21.2012 | Politics
Gail Vida Hamburg

Pew's findings are a tribute to the resilience of our super-size ego. It shows that most of us are quite pleased with ourselves. Why analyze anything, or learn from our shortcomings, or examine our mistakes, when we can just tell ourselves how superior we are?

Sex, Lies, and the Workplace: Lightning Rods by Helen DeWitt

Ilana Teitelbaum | Posted 12.09.2011 | Books
Ilana Teitelbaum

If any point can be taken from this book aside from the kinkiness of it all, it is perhaps that in 2011, nothing should really surprise us anymore.

Don't Be a Book Snob!

Lev Raphael | Posted 11.07.2011 | Books
Lev Raphael

Over the thirty years of my publishing career, I've learned that book snobs come in all shapes and sizes. And their snobbery often seems more about them than the genre they've picked for their disdain.

Where Art & Politics Collide

Joe Woodward | Posted 11.06.2011 | Books
Joe Woodward

In America today, to mix art and politics in any literal sense is considered either passé or taboo, but in the 1930s it was a vein of practice mined by many writers and artists.

Making Writing a Sacred Act

Claudia Ricci | Posted 10.15.2011 | Books
Claudia Ricci

It may sound silly or difficult to understand to someone who hasn't gone through a life-threatening illness, but I made my way through my healing, and through my cancer treatment, by treating it as if it were a sacred act.

A Silence Broken: The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Ilana Teitelbaum | Posted 10.09.2011 | Books
Ilana Teitelbaum

In the world of The Help nothing is what it seems, but there is a kind of innocence to its mysteries. There is just enough suspense to keep the pages turning, and tragedy throughout.

Why Fiction Still Matters in the Digital Age

Heidi W. Durrow | Posted 10.04.2011 | Black Voices
Heidi W. Durrow

I wonder whether writing fiction matters in a digital age. Truth is, between emails, text messages, Facebook status updates, and tweets, we are all writing quite a lot these days. We are often overwhelmed by words.