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Matt Grant

MATT GRANT is a Brooklyn-based writer who covers books, film, TV, and pop culture. He is a staff writer at LitHub and a contributor to Book Riot. His work has appeared in Longreads, Tor.com, the Huffington Post, and more. You can find him online at www.mattgrantwriter.com or on Twitter: @mattgrantwriter.

Her Body, Herself: Hunger by Roxane Gay

I had a fiction professor once who said something about memoir writing that stuck with me. The gist of it was that memoirs are difficult because so few people have “earned” the right to tell us about their lives.

John Freeman Gill’s The Gargoyle Hunters

The title of John Freeman Gill’s debut novel, The Gargoyle Hunters, references a 1962 New York Herald Tribune feature called “Gargoyle Hunting in New York.” From the 1950s through the 1970s, a period of widespread urban renewal threatened to demolish many of the city’s most historic buildings, a majority of which had gone up in the early 19th and 20th centuries, designed by world-renowned architects and carved by immigrant stone carvers who left their mark etching creatures and human figures into their walls.

Leni Zumas’s Red Clocks

With a backdrop of such fertile material, Zumas could have told any number of large, grand-scale stories. But this is not the story of a small group of freedom fighters taking on a shadowy, overreaching government. In fact, the men in power here remain unseen and faceless. Outside of the casual reference to “a fetus-loving new president,” we know next to nothing about them. Instead, the book explores the reverberations of these policies in the lives of four women in a small Oregon fishing town. It doesn’t take long to see that this world isn’t science fiction at all. We’re perilously close to it becoming a reality in our own.

Roxane Gay’s Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture

Not That Bad compiles twenty-nine essays by authors all across the gender and sexuality spectrum who share their own encounters with sexual violence. In almost every one, the writer struggles to come to terms with the fact that what happened to them was, indeed, that bad.

FAN FICTION: Andrew Shaffer's Hope Never Dies

Hope Never Dies, the first Obama/Biden mystery by best-selling humorist and satirist Andrew Shaffer. Part noir thriller, part fan fiction bromance, just the cover of Hope Never Dies is enough for a good chuckle.

Alexander Chee's How to Write an Autobiographical Novel: Essays

In his essays, Chee writes about topics as varied as his hardships growing up as a Korean American, his sexuality, his activism for AIDS legislation in the late 1980s, the death of his father, the writing life, and more.

Family Bonds

Brooklyn writer Taylor Larsen’s debut novel, Stranger, Father, Beloved is the relentlessly bleak story of the dissolution of an American nuclear family.

Susan Shapiro’s The Byline Bible

The Byline Bible is not another manual on how to write. Instead, it’s something much more sorely needed: a manual on how to get paid as a writer.

Ta-Nehisi Coates’s
We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy

The day after Ta-Nehisi Coates‘s new essay collection We Were Eight Years In Power: An American Tragedy was released, Coates appeared on CBS This Morning to promote it. Towards the end of the segment, Gayle King addresses him. “You’re being called one of America’s best writers on race,” she says. “…I heard you gagged when you heard that.”

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The Brooklyn Rail

MAY 2020

All Issues