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Running the Devil's Gauntlet: Ahmed Bouanani's The Hospital

Hades, Gehenna, Hell: every culture has one, a realm of punishment without end. By any name, too, it’s been inspiration without end. For creative types, the Awful Place allows awesome freedom.

May-Lee Chai's Useful Phrases for Immigrants

The eight stories in this collection feature varied characters in different states of diaspora each with their own powerful voice. Set in both China and the United States, not all of Chai's characters are immigrants, but each suffers from different kinds of displacement. With a vision that is both sharp and compassionate, Chai allows us to see just what it is to be “different” in a world that embraces conformity.

Lexi Freiman’s Inappropriation

Lexi Freiman’s debut novel, Inappropriation, centers on Australian teenager Ziggy Klein just after she leaves her Jewish school to attend the all-girls private school Kandara. Taking us through the day-to-day life of Ziggy, Freiman masters the art of satire, poking fun at both high school culture and identity politics. In some sense, this can be described as a satirical coming-of-age novel, as a pre-pubescent Ziggy attempts to understand herself and her place in the ever-changing high school landscape.

Jeff Jackson's Destroy All Monsters: The Last Rock Novel

Jeff Jackson’s newest novel Destroy All Monsters: The Last Rock Novel, out on FSG Originals, is unlike any other book published this year. It’s wry and dark, timeless but also entirely of our time, though void of any direct references to our Internet 2.0 media-saturated age.

Kim Sagwa's Mina

Kim Sagwa's English-language debut is both a difficult and complex read. Loosely comparable to the Mean Girls and Pretty Little Liars genre with tones of Bright Lights, Big City, the novel focuses on two young women failing to cope with their lives and with each other. Set in South Korea’s “P City,” Mina and her sometimes-best-friend Crystal suffer pressures common to most teens and while also specific to South Korea. These are girls of privilege whose parents are mostly absent but expect perfect grades, perfect performance. Driven and lost with virtually no adult supervision, the end can only be tragic.

Armonía Somers's The Naked Woman

Originally published in 1950, this slim novel packs a major wallop. Somers (1914 – 1994, pen name for Armonía Liropeya Etchepare Locino) was a Uruguayan writer, pedagogue, and a major force in Latin American feminism. And although she was a prolific writer, this publication of The Naked Woman is Somers only novel translated into English.

Simon Sellars's Applied Ballardianism: Memoir from a Parallel Universe

Our autocatalytic world renders the tropes of classical science-fiction obsolete. Romantic fabulation, deployed prior to the space race and the globalization of telecommunications, breaks down when confronted by a technoscientific paradigm no longer operating at the limit of an extrinsic unknown.


The Brooklyn Rail

NOV 2018

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