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Elizabeth Block

Elizabeth Block is currently writing a feature screenplay and a book. She is making a film under fiscal sponsorship of Film Independent. She recently received grants from Artist Relief and Poets & Writers. Find her on Substack at THICK DESCRIPTION.

Deft, Eloquent, Shiversome, and Timely

Aimee Parkison’s new collection of stories, for which Parkison was awarded the FC2 Catherine Doctorow Innovative Fiction Prize, outshines many contemporary literary conversations on misogyny, the “female body,” and women’s rights.

In Conversation

LYNNE TILLMAN with Elizabeth Block

With the reprint of a "great American novel," American Genius, A Comedy, Lynne Tillman has perhaps now (if not already) set her literary/conceptual art legacy for generations to come.

Fiona Alison Duncan’s Exquisite Mariposa

The plant mariposa—a flower with several bright species—is the perfect rainbow to remind us this novel exceeds any rules of genre. Exquisite Mariposa also refers to the brightly colored, Instagramable cast of Los Angeles post-college, post-climate change, drug hazed, post-Obama, I read them. magazine every Sunday morning in my email, even if I ain’t them. young adults.

Deborah Levy’s Real Estate

What kind of “feminist” would rather be labeled, according to real estate terminology, as “chattel real,” rather than flipping that metaphor literally to “lord of the land?” With all the privileges and advantages real estate offers for wealth building, why just daydream about it if one has book advances and award money to buy a little security? These are questions inevitably raised, but not resolved, in Deborah Levy’s third book in a contemplative memoir series, Real Estate.

In Conversation

LIDIA YUKNAVITCH with Elizabeth Block

When literally only a handful of readers knew of Lidia’s work, she was always on the verge of something, slicing away at language like it was hers and hers alone, like she could turn it into anything, blow it up, tame it, orchestrate it, filibuster it, drown it, launch it into the sky. Now Yuknavitch has, indeed, reached a vast audience with bestselling books and as a TED speaker.

Edges and Intestines

At a time when women are still expected to disassociate from their bodies and defer to straight  male desire  as if it were the only natural impulse, Carmen Maria Machado’s prose moves directly inside the female body with an entirely different drive.

What My Mother And I Don’t Talk About: Fifteen Writers Break The Silence

Despite the centuries old and universal topic of the mother-child relationship, the dyad of all dyads, Michele Filgate’s anthology reminds us the subject never grows stale. Rather it is perfectly-flavored dressing atop the most flavorful edible garden.

Maggie Nelson's Something Bright, Then Holes

If I crashed—shuddered by whiplash—boat wrecked and abandoned on a deserted island, and I had to choose only one author’s texts with which to spend my days, that author would be Maggie Nelson.

Continental Divide

At a time when evangelical values have, by Bush or by crook, descended upon the United States like the aftermath of a Hiroshima mushroom cloud, we might as well remember a controversial Victorian, Sigmund Freud.

Tyler Cohen’s Primahood: Magenta

For many years, I have been watching the birth and development of Tyler Cohen’s wonderfully tactile and surreal “Primazon” drawings in San Francisco.

Loudermilk: Or, The Real Poet, Or, The Origin of the World By Lucy Ives

By employing a classical theatrical technique of dramatis personae, rather than “realistic” novel characters, perhaps Ives is able to move between so many registers that enable her unusual “mash-up” to excel as at once philosophical and planted in the mud.

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.


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2023

All Issues