Reviews

States of Plague: Reading Albert Camus in a Pandemic – Alice Kaplan and Laura Marris

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The isolation, the fear, the breaking of actual communication, and the lack of touch draws together Camus’s worlds and our reality.

The Bad Angel Brothers – Paul Theroux

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In short, no fun, the having of a brother.

Bright Unbearable Reality – Anna Badkhen

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Without awe, how can we dream up a different reality? Without wonder, the dark matter of possibility, how do we find the courage to zoom in on our unbearable humanity?

Seeing Like a Smuggler: Borders from Below – ed. Mahmoud Keshavarz and Shahram Khosravi

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Many of the people we encounter in the pages of this book do not identify as smugglers but as workers of various kinds.

Divination with a Human Heart Attached – Emily Stoddard

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These poems leave us with a gentle litany of things left behind—things more suitable, perhaps, for the more subtle shades of grief.

Lost in the Long March – Michael X. Wang

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[The novel’s] layering surpasses anything like theme or plot and suffuses into a kind of aesthetic ethos which justifies the old saying: The novelist picks up where the historian has to stop.

Health Communism – Beatrice Adler-Bolton and Artie Vierkant

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Health Communism thrives with the inbound hope of any manifesto—the naming of violence as a source of potential political revolution.

Abécédaire – Sharon Kivland

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Though Kivland resolved not to speak about herself, the pages are dotted with first-person asides in brackets: dreams, flashes of memory, brooding.

Getting Lost – Annie Ernaux

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Everyone should be so lucky to be wholly consumed at least once in life.

My Pinup – Hilton Als

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For any seducer, whether it is Prince or a more proximate old flame, withholding is the grammar.

She Is Haunted – Paige Clark

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She Is Haunted mixes elements of melodrama—the mother-daughter psychodrama above all—into a traumatic temporality in which the past is never-ending.

The Moon Over Edgar – Ian Felice

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This collection advocates for attention to dreams, the uncanny, the mundane, and the moon as if now is the time to devote ourselves to that possibility rather than, like Edgar, letting our life pass before us.

Pina – Titaua Peu

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In its complex imbrication of queerness and heteropatriarchy, indigenous critique and colonial discourse, Pina stages the bizarre and beautiful workings of desire.

Pee Poems – Lao Yang

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The centering of urine rejects poetry’s traditional subjects in favor of a more egalitarian common denominator.