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In Conversation


The horror genre is regaining major popularity. Despite living in these uncertain times, readers are now, more than ever, eager to get lost in something spooky. Goodreads reported there was a massive uptick in horror over the summer with books in the genre labeled as “the most anticipated” for readers.

David Levi Strauss’s
Co-Illusion: Dispatches from the End of Communication

David Levi Strauss’s Co-Illusion: Dispatches from the End of Communication (2020) asks the fundamental question about the Trump presidency: “How did we get here?”

Don DeLillo’s The Silence

The Silence takes readers into a typeface that interfaces powerfully with the luminous prose of one of America’s most innovative and visionary writers.

Vote Now or Forever Hold Your Peace

Two recent books by a pair of lawyer/journalists attempt to help the general public understand our convoluted state-specific system of voting, the barriers to real democratic voice, and what we need to do to increase voter participation. They are both useful almanacs for how voting works, how to actually vote, and the barriers placed inhibiting participation.

Rone Shavers’s Silverfish

Rone Shavers’s debut novel Silverfish is a lively, intelligent, and ambitious book, and refreshingly difficult to categorize. It is an experimental work that combines elements of sci-fi, dystopian, and war fiction with linguistic and literary theory, intertextuality and metacommentary, multiple perspectives and voices, social criticism and satire—all of which is injected with pace and humor and firmly grounded in an Afrofuturistic stance.

In Conversation

TYREE DAYE with Tony Leuzzi

Broadly speaking, the central theme of Cardinal is “traveling while black in America”; but like individual stars in a cluster orbiting some galactic center, each of Daye’s poems emits its own light: any single moment of illumination is as crucial as the panoramic view.

Cristina Rivera Garza’s Grieving: Dispatches from a Wounded Country

Across some 200 pages, Garza applies a lingual scalpel to the narrative of systemic violence: a narrative enacted on both sides of the border by governments, law enforcement, drug cartels, and the media who sensationalize, erase, or ignore the violence. She

Sayaka Murata’s Earthlings: A Novel

Sayaka Murata’s (Convenience Store Woman, 2019) new novel is a deeply disturbing exploration of one woman’s attempt to try to survive outside cultural norms in Japanese society.

Stories by Chloe N. Clark & Jen Fawkes

So too, the texts set up an engaging biplay between longer work and shorter, alternating pieces of a dozen pages with those of three paragraphs. Yet neither writer skimps on suffering or dread. Neither suffers a blind spot, some ugliness they’d prefer to avoid, though Fawkes deals more in terror, Clark in sorrow.

Aoko Matsuda’s Where The Wild Ladies Are

Matsuda introduces several stories, discrete but thematically connected. At the end of the book, each story’s original ghost story is summarized for reference. While sometimes female protagonists begin as self-deprecating, they do not succumb to victimhood.

In Conversation

Daddies and Divas: MICHAEL MONTLACK with Soraya Shalforoosh

Montlack reminds us of the powers of the other kinds of mothers and fathers. We read this intimacy in "Masculinity" when he says, "I learned its meaning from my mother. / Warm / like the compress / I steadied / against her stoma." 

Sarah Sala’s Devil’s Lake

If one needs a glossary of all the negativities a queer body might face, and then have each and every word re-imagined, re-written, and re-summoned for the sake of said communities, Sarah M. Sala’s debut collection of poetry, Devil’s Lake, makes for a good start.


The Brooklyn Rail

OCT 2020

All Issues