>

Exploring the art of fiction

Menu

CRAFT ESSAYS, ELEMENTS, and TALKS

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…

Read More

Joke-Telling in Lorrie Moore’s “You’re Ugly, Too”

March 19, 2019

  By Kate Kaplan • People tell jokes to attract attention or deflect it, to express a point of view, to connect, to offend, or in the hope of shared laughter. Some people (disclosure: me) tell jokes to themselves, rehearsing…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

The Queer Gaze and the Ineffable in THE PRICE OF SALT

January 22, 2019

  By Candace Walsh • I almost didn’t read Patricia Highsmith’s The Price of Salt, one of the most influential, relevant, and exquisite novels I’ve ever encountered. Why? I felt like it would be dated. I thought that I should…

Read More

How to Link Up a Short Story Collection: A Fairy Tale

December 18, 2018

By Micah Perks • A reader recently emailed me about my new collection of linked short stories, True Love and Other Dreams of Miraculous Escape: she appreciated “all the tiny details, like breadcrumbs that you sprinkled along the way. Reading…

Read More

It Happened Here: Setting in Natashia Deón’s GRACE

December 7, 2018

By Melissa Benton Barker • Natashia Deón’s novel, Grace, is a both a warcry against and a lament upon the violence inflicted on the Black female body under the conditions of slavery in the United States. The novel is narrated…

Read More

Free Indirect Speech

November 27, 2018

By Laura Nicoara • So she would still find herself arguing in St. James’s Park, still making out that she had been right—and she had too—not to marry him. For in marriage a little licence [sic], a little independence there…

Read More

The Art of Time in David Gates’s “Banishment”

October 30, 2018

By Amber Wheeler Bacon • David Gates doesn’t recommend flashbacks to new writers when he’s teaching fiction. When line editing a student’s piece, he cuts pretty much every flashback he sees. I know because he cut plenty of mine when…

Read More

Daisy Johnson’s Cauldron: Realism & Fairy Tale Logic in “Albatross”

October 26, 2018

By Amelia Brown • Daisy Johnson is quite obviously inspired by folklore in her debut collection of stories, Fen—her pages are home to sentient objects, immortal monsters, and animal transformations galore. In fact, Johnson’s stories pledge their allegiance to two narrative…

Read More