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In Conversation

Sequoia Nagamatsu with Kurt Baumeister

Sequoia Nagamatsu’s first novel, How High We Go in the Dark, could be called a deft fusion of science fiction and contemporary dramatic realism, but that wouldn’t fully capture the achievement this novel represents.

Kelly Grovier’s On the Line: Conversations with Sean Scully

An Irish painter and an American art critic form a bond that generates more than 10 years of engagement, culminating in a handsome book of tightly edited conversation. The book moves in places you expect it to, but there are narrative surprises and plays of cleverness built into the design that keep your attention. There is also great humor and the witty intelligence of two canny observers.

Abdulrazak Gurnah’s Afterlives

An author who gains a name—say, winning the Nobel, like Abdulrazak Gurnah—can also lose shelf-space. The books can vanish, in the libraries as well as the shops, and even before the supply chain grew sluggish, restocking could take a while.

Hiromi Kawakami’s People From My Neighborhood and Sequoia Nagamatsu's How High We Go in the Dark

Each of these books presents a master class in craft while also providing a perfectly honed narrative that draws the reader in and won’t let go.

In Conversation

Ricky Tucker with Justin Sherwood

And the Category Is… is a celebration of the Ballroom scene, the subculture created in New York City by Black and Latinx queer and trans youth seeking freedom from the oppressive forces of racism, homophobia, transphobia, and capitalism through dance, chosen family, and creative expression.

Shannon K. Winston ’s The Girl Who Talked to Paintings

Winston’s recent poetry collection The Girl Who Talked to Paintings has the feel of an exhibit in which each painting adheres to a common theme that brings all of the pieces together.

In Conversation

Sarah Schulman with Pac Pobric

Pac Pobric speaks with Sarah Schulman about what her new book can teach latter-day activists, what AIDS and COVID-19 share, and why ACT UP needed a comprehensive history.

Bob Keyes’s The Isolation Artist

This book is a master lesson on how not to be an artist. It is also a fable, although the cast of characters is not made up of forest animals but island people.

Hoa Nguyen’s A Thousand Times You Lose Your Treasure

Nguyen's writing’s concision, its general lack of narrative, its refusal of standard forms, its gaps and pauses are all ways of interrupting the flow of experience and, more importantly, the conventions and directives—the normative ideologies—embedded within her flow.

Ricardo Wilson’s An Apparent Horizon and Other Stories

Wilson builds fully realized worlds in each story, be it a single paragraph or dozens of pages. The result is a challenging read where race and class are front and center, and they are explored in a way that is both sad and painful, and warm and witty.

In Conversation

Emily Rapp Black with Claire Phillips

Written with great bravura, this first-person essay collection is as carefully researched as it is revealing; and will undoubtedly find itself a classic among the robust literature on Kahlo.

Donna Schaper’s Remove the Pews

This book was both written and published during the Covid-19 pandemic, when many churches found themselves worshiping without their pews. Computer screens and kitchen tables became the setting for Sunday worship.


The Brooklyn Rail

DEC 21-JAN 22

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