41PwOaZXvtL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Satin Island by Tom McCarthy | The Rumpus
On the cover of Tom McCarthy’s new novel, a number of words appear crossed out. “A manifesto,” “an essay,” “a report,” “a confession,” and “a treatise” are all struck through, leaving only the words “a novel” un-slashed. But none of these terms quite captures what Satin Island really is: a polemic.

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HeartOfTheMatterAn Atheist in West Africa | Northwest Review of Books
How does an atheist approach a novel by a Catholic, albeit a less than strict one? Or maybe the better question is: Can I write about The Heart of the Matter and see only what I wish to see, authorial intention be damned? Countless pages have been dedicated to the role (or lack thereof) of the author in a text’s interpretation, but what do I do in this instance?

1594206163.01.LZZZZZZZI Am Radar by Reif Larsen | The Millions
Reif Larsen’s first novel The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet was a frustrating narrative wrapped in a beautiful work of art. Parts worked wonderfully, but many sections dragged along, and the confounding and ill-fitting finale was rushed. But the imagination of the novel­­ is undeniable, as is the talent of its author, so it was with much interest that I embarked upon Larsen’s second effort, I Am Radar, a measurably better novel than T.S. Spivet, both for its leanness and its grandness. It’s an epic page-turner filled with small, tender moments of wonder.

saintfriend_cover_store_FINAL-218x300Saint Friend by Carl Adamshick | Tupelo Quarterly
If someone had the gumption to go around and ask everyday Americans to name a poem, nearly all of them would certainly supply an answer. One might hear, as a reply, Poe’s “The Raven” or Hughes’s “A Dream Deferred” or Frost’s “The Road Not Taken.” But if this same pollster were to ask these citizens to name a single volume of poetry, a collection, how many would be able to come up with a title?

Quote-mark-blackandwhiteUnquote: The Benefits of Excising Quotation Marks | The Millions
Quotation marks can be insidious little creatures. They have immense, unacknowledged power. They can turn a good idea into a “good idea.” With the simple addition of the those lines, something that would have been accepted for only its definition becomes suspect, questionable, even a parody of itself. Quotation marks render a statement euphemistic, a cover for the real thing, as in, He’s with his “friend” Andrew. Or they can be dysphemistic, as in, He’s with his “boyfriend” Andrew. Words surrounded by light, floating lines seem to lift right off the page, hovering over it, detached from any fixed meaning.