by Jesse Miller

Going Viral

Alena Graedon’s THE WORD EXCHANGE and Ben Marcus’ THE FLAME ALPHABET explore the traumatic capacities of language by imagining it is a virus.

The Sad Passions – Veronica Gonzalez Peña

Reading The Sad Passions is a conundrum, an exercise in both empathy and ambivalence.

A Commencement Address From the Slapstick President

Where President Obama balances between will and inevitability, we find Buster Keaton, on commencement day, not charging ahead to shape a future, but pausing, vacillating, everywhere at once. Bumbling, stumbling, crashing forward.

Diving into the Shallows

LUMINOUS AIRPLANES is an experiment for living, a model kit for making decisions where the instructions have been left out, or poorly translated, or really never existed in the first place.

The Book of Emotions – João Almino

What does it mean? What is reality?

House of the Fortunate Buddhas – João Ubaldo Ribeiro

Over the course of her oral (and anal, and vaginal) narrative, the novel’s narrator reminisces on these and many other encounters in her list of lifelong sexual exploits. She is witty as a whip (and probably good with one too).

A Walk to Remember to Remember

A cursory look at the canon of Western literature reveals author after author mining the drama of human locomotion while constantly imbuing the act with new meanings and significances, so much so in fact that the history of literature begins to look like a history of walking.

The Book of Happenstance – Ingrid Winterbach

If there is something both moving and reassuring about looking back to the classics, to those texts, paintings, and sculptures of beauty that both precede and will surpass our lives and at the same time speak to us at a human level, what then do we make of the shell?

Fatale – Jean-Patrick Manchette

The genius of Manchette’s reimagining of noir is that his political sympathies never weigh the text down, but rather subtly reveal the resonances and inclinations already inherent in the genre.

Pulse – Julian Barnes

Barnes approaches big questions about human relationships and finds no simple answers, but in setting his parameters narrow, he is able to dig deep, forgoing the pyrotechnics of ardor and the convictions of youth for measured uncertainty and emotional ambivalence.