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In Conversation

ROSS BENES with Christopher Heine

Rural Rebellion is much more than a history lesson. It’s the story of trying to make sense of modern America through the lens of a young dude, Ross Benes, who was raised on steak, potatoes, and God but now—as a South Park Slope resident—lives in a place where the menu of cuisine, religion, and politics is much different.

Fluid Selves: Legacy Russell’s Glitch Feminism

Glitch Feminism was published during a bleak year of pandemics and political upheaval. As reactionary political and social forces encourage inertia, or even try to undo the dreams of change, this manifesto is a voice for hope.

Paul Mendez’s Rainbow Milk

Distinguished by its gritty realism, Rainbow Milk is among the more convincing debuts I have read in years.

In Conversation

DARRYL PINCKNEY with William Corwin

I first met Darryl Pinckney in 2014 when he was working on his novel Black Deutschland (Picador, 2016). He picked my brain on the subject of egomaniacal architects (I studied architecture and had a few notable examples as both mentors and employers). At the time I suspected it was for a character, but he only admitted that when we sat down for the interview for the Rail this past October.

Hoda Barakat’s Voices of the Lost

Ultimately, Voices of the Lost belongs with the most exemplary fiction of our contemporary diasporas, striving to match the new tragedy with a new form.

Kazuo Ishiguro’s Klara and the Sun

What makes Klara and the Sun in particular so remarkable, I think, is that instead of only looking backward at our origin stories, Ishiguro here is looking forward in time as if to warn us that the myths we insist upon believing today will shape how we will live in the future. He reminds us that even our most enduring stories can be rewritten.

Jamie Figueroa’s Brother, Sister, Mother, Explorer

Jamie Figueroa's debut novel, Brother, Sister, Mother, Explorer depicts the impact of trauma and loss within a family.

Jackie Wang’s The Sunflower Cast a Spell to Save Us From the Void

The spell of this book preserves the multiple-layered, multiple-petaled nature of life. Wang’s collection professes the potency of dream and sunflower; it professes the persistence of powers that save.

Lucy Ives’s Cosmogony

Cosmogony consists of 12 stories, every single one a profound narrative that takes a different form. When they get surreal, they are reminiscent of dream sequences. Even when they don’t, there is the slight hint of something unearthly, or at least uncanny throughout the book.

William Boyd’s TRIO

Trio is a fine, well-tuned novel with plenty of perfectly-paced drama, wit, and intriguing plot twists that accompany its more serious themes about privacy, secrecy, and Camus’s one fundamental philosophical question from which all questions follow.


The Brooklyn Rail

MARCH 2021

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