Category Archives: Literature

Only Light Can Do That

By Pamela Avila

On November 9th, 2016 we woke up to sexism, racism, bigotry, and hate. We woke up a divided country.

While some of us woke up with a bitter taste on our tongues, in denial, and scared — others woke up safe, with a newfound sense of hope in our country, and a determination to “Make America Great Again.” Others woke up to a call to action. Continue reading

Against the “Must Read”

By Nathan Scott McNamara

I don’t know where the term “must-read” got its start — if it goes back ten or 100 years, first showed up with booksellers or critics, or if “must-see” movies preceded “must-read” books — but I do know that I see a lot of it lately. With a quick search, I found a Newsweek list of the “must-read” books in the age of Donald Trump, and a Wired list of the “must-read” books of this past summer. Vulture and Flavorwire both publish a “must-read” list every month, featuring 7-10 books each. There are listicles across the internet that indicate some set of five to 20 “must-reads” for world-travelers, geeks, or “overwhelmed stepmoms,” for people interested in capitalism, Broadway, China, or almost anything you can think of. Continue reading

2016 Releases from Dorothy, a Publishing Project

By Emily Wells

October was a thrilling month for Dorothy, a publishing project, a small press focused on publishing “fiction or near fiction or about fiction, mostly by women.” Dorothy releases their entire annual catalogue in October, in this year’s case, two small volumes: the first English translation of Suite for Barbara Loden by Nathalie Léger, and a collection of short fiction, The Babysitter at Rest by Jen George. The two books compliment each other well. Both are unconventional forays into the burdens of womanhood and storytelling, and are desperately concerned with what it means to be female and unfulfilled. Continue reading

Borges’ Ship: An Unjust Ruling Against Pablo Katchadjian

By Emmanuel Ordóñez Angulo

You’ve heard it time and time again: plagiarism is a sin, one which secures you a place in the Eighth Circle of Hell, among fellow thieves and falsifiers. It is also the lowest type of crime with which an intellectual or creator can be charged, so it’s no triviality that, last week, the Argentine justice found writer Pablo Katchadjian guilty. Continue reading

Still Life: on Madeleine Bourdouxhe’s La Femme De Gilles

By Amina Cain

I had a difficult time, while reading Madeleine Bourdouxhe’s La Femme de Gilles, separating it from the recent events in U.S. politics. A man who has bragged about sexually assaulting women has won the presidency over the woman who would have been our first female president. Originally published in 1937 by Éditions Gallimard in Paris, and reissued this fall through Melville House as part of their Neversink Library series, it is not fair to Bourdouxhe to bring today’s politics into my reading of La Femme de Gilles. And yet, she might have understood. Friends with Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre, Bourdouxhe was a member of the Resistance in France and Belgium, and is known to have worked with surrealist artist Paul Éluard to sneak political leaflets from Paris into Brussels. In the 1940s, when the Nazis took over Gallimard, Bourdouxhe cut ties, never publishing with them again. Continue reading

“Translating Little Black Boxes,” an Excerpt From the November 2016 Issue of World Literature Today

An Excerpt from World Literature Today

In November 2016 — for the first time in the magazine’s 90-year history — the entire issue of World Literature Today is devoted to women writers, translators, and reviewers. Encompassing essays, fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and interviews spanning the globe, the assemblage of writers glimpses how an international, contemporary literary canon populated solely by women might look. The magazine’s review section also presents 34 books written and reviewed by women. In addition, the issue includes city profiles, reading lists, and global-culture features from female contributors. All told, the issue presents a “utopia of literary parity” from cover to cover. The following piece, titled “Translating Little Black Boxes,” is an excerpt from the issue. It is Kerri Pierce’s translator’s note for “Dreamwriter” by Gunnhild Øyehaug, which she translated from the Norwegian.

Continue reading

It’s Okay to Be Scared, But Don’t Play Scared: An Interview with Helen Ellis, author of American Housewife

By Teddy Minford

“My bite is much worse than my bark,” says Helen Ellis, whose sweet voice, bubbly personality, and gracious manners, make her seem like your typical book club-hosting Upper East Side housewife. But once you read Ellis’s short story collection American Housewife, you learn that Ellis has a sharp tongue and a dark side. Speaking with her, I learned that she also has a penchant for gambling and a soft spot for reality TV, and that most of her villians (and heroes) are inspired by her own personality. Continue reading

Flung Into Orbit With April Ayers Lawson

By Luke B. Goebel

April Ayers Lawson’s first collection of stories, Virgin and Other Stories (out November 1st from Farar, Straus and Giroux), embodies anew the Southern Gothic, with its twisted, oft-hackneyed Christian traditions, sexual hunger, and isolated yearning. In today’s secular literary climate, transgressive and unnerving fiction from a Christian Southern author is a rare find — and rarer still is the quality of subjects and craft in these stories. Virgin and Other Stories emerges from a brilliant young mind, living open-eyed through transgression.  Continue reading

A Blank Page as Big as the World: An Interview with Vanessa Hua

By Olga Kreimer

Like the apocryphal frogs splashing in their warming water until the inevitable end, the characters in Vanessa Hua’s debut, Deceit and Other Possibilities, get into their predicaments first slowly, then very fast. Driven into impossible circumstances by hubris or ambition, desperation pushes them to try any exit. Though their troubles are specific, the unsettling sense of scaling walls too smooth for traction as the water starts to bubble is painfully familiar. That futility — the gaps between what Hua’s characters want and what they get to have — makes the reader root for the break-ins, gunshots, and fires that are their last resorts. It’s easy to recognize the desires that drive them, so even extreme measures feel like reasonable escalation when nothing else works. Continue reading