BOOK REVIEWS

CONTEMPORARY FICTION | NARRATIVE NONFICTION  | SHORT STORIES

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Ocean Vuong's Time Is a Mother

Writing in the aftermath of his mother's passing, the Vietnamese-American poet designs a vernacular resting in juxtapositions. Permanence contends with transience. Absence with presence. And time with itself. Vuong tests the boundaries of language--how it breaches, breathes, and succumbs to visceral human emotions, stretching the past into the future...

Sally Rooney's Beautiful World, Where Are You

In her years being a successful novelist, the Irish writer who seems to have gotten the pulse of a certain millennial bracket has — with great care and convincing nonchalance — written characters who are quick to believe the worst in themselves while keen to restore some semblance of moral order in a declining world. White, cerebral, upper-middle-class twenty-somethings carrying...

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Anuk Arudpragasam's A Passage North

Arudpragasam’s latest does not dwell on the conventional makings of a triumphant novel. It is, in fact, an ongoing and intricate exploration of civil unrest, war, ageing, attachments, and the losses that ensue in their wake. In Colombo, Sri Lanka, Krishnan's weekend unfolds with him receiving news of his grandmother's former caretaker, Rani's demise. The mounting shock spurs...

John Boyne's The Heart's Invisible Furies

While a noteworthy commentary on medieval hypocrisy, The Heart’s Invisible Furies is, at its core, a tragic romance. With Cyril Avery, the anguished protagonist, as the casualty and consequence of an ignorant world that is learning, but not fast enough, Boyne, in association with Hogarth House, unhurriedly traces an ordinary man’s life across seven decades, two continents, and untold heartbreaks...

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