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ANNOTATIONS, REVIEWS, and CRAFT BOOKS

Ugly Love: Character as Plot in Mary Gaitskill’s DON’T CRY

January 21, 2020

  By Melissa Benton Barker • The stories in Mary Gaitskill’s collection Don’t Cry are like tiny mirrors held close, all the pores and blemishes of her characters offered up for the readers’ inspection. Published in 2009, the collection scrupulously…

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Repetition and Evolution: Structure in Robert Boswell’s CROOKED HEARTS

December 10, 2019

  By Amber Wheeler Bacon • In the third draft of my novel, I’m still messing with structure. It feels like I’ll always be messing with structure. To experiment, I’ve tried copying the frameworks of different novels I love: Purity…

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Hybrid Interview: Shane Jones

October 22, 2019

Essay by J.A. Tyler • There was something about Shane Jones’s new novel Vincent and Alice and Alice that held me at bay. I’m a huge fan of his work, loved his previous novels, have admired his style for years.…

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What Tells You

September 24, 2019

  By Gabriel Brownstein • For years, I’ve assigned Joan Didion’s essay “Why I Write” to my fiction writing workshops. For me, as a short story writer, there are two crucial sentences in the essay. Didion precedes these sentences with…

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The Diarist: Kathryn Scanlan’s AUG 9—FOG

June 11, 2019

  By J.A. Tyler • Other people’s diaries. Strangers. Their words inked across aged paper. Where did it come from? How did it get here? Who owned it, who read it? Hunt on eBay and one could be headed your…

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The Uncanny: Joanna Pearson’s EVERY HUMAN LOVE

May 14, 2019

  By Nick Fuller Googins • Snooping through my father’s desk at age twelve, I discovered a bundle of papers related to our very old house. Within this bundle was a photocopy of a newspaper article from the 1800s, which…

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A Closer Look: MEANDER, SPIRAL, EXPLODE

April 23, 2019

  I hope…that thinking about patterns other than the arc will become natural, that evolving writers won’t feel oppressed by the arc, that they’ll imagine visual aspects of narrative as well as temporal, that they’ll discover ways to design, being…

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Myth Made New: Madeline Miller’s CIRCE

April 16, 2019

  By Tim Weed • Like her debut, The Song of Achilles, Madeline Miller’s Circe offers readers a fresh and defamiliarized retelling of classical Greek mythology. It’s a retelling informed by the author’s thorough knowledge of the subject and energized…

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Theatre Novel: Joseph Scapellato’s THE MADE-UP MAN

March 12, 2019

  By Mike Corrao •  Joseph Scapellato’s The Made-Up Man, released in February by FSG, centers on the protagonist, Stanley’s participation in an exploitative performance piece coordinated by his wealthy Czech-based uncle. Invited to apartment-sit in Prague, Stanley bears witness…

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The Ears and Noses of Beholders in THE PRICE OF SALT

February 19, 2019

  By Candace Walsh • As thousands of tweets and several articles attest, women have grown weary of the way many male writers describe female characters: zooming in on their body parts with a Porky’s-gaze, to the exclusion of describing…

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