‘Hell’s Half-Acre’ a Rich History of a Grisly Crime

There’s a heady mythos about life in the Wild West, of gunslingers and dusty trails and sun-weathered pioneers and opportunity as wide as the horizon, all wrapped up in a whole lot of unchecked colonialism. Truth and fiction informed each other in a very meta merry-go-round until the world caught up with the enterprising migrationContinue reading “‘Hell’s Half-Acre’ a Rich History of a Grisly Crime”

‘Thistlefoot’ Brings Extra Emotion to Folktales

Home is where the heart is. In the case of GennaRose Nethercott’s debut novel, Thistlefoot, home can be wherever home chooses to go. And along being the resting place for the heart, home is also where generational trauma from an entire community comes to roost. The Yaga siblings were once close. Helping their parents runContinue reading “‘Thistlefoot’ Brings Extra Emotion to Folktales”

‘Counterfeit’ a Thrilling Morality Test

Ages ago, I listened to a podcast series out of Princeton applying LSAT logic to everyday arguments and news. The host would end each episode by asking, “Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Who cares? We’re more interested in the journey than the destination.” The podcast ended during the Obama administration, but I found myself considering thatContinue reading “‘Counterfeit’ a Thrilling Morality Test”

‘Tiger’ Brings High Stakes to Growing Up

The “coming of age” story usually refers to a teen growing up, but real life doesn’t have just one of those moments. And in my experience in young adulthood, finding out who I was happened much farther into my twenties than I’d like to admit—if it truly happened at all. In that way, the mainContinue reading “‘Tiger’ Brings High Stakes to Growing Up”

‘Sea of Tranquility’ Dizzying and Beautiful

I’ve heard raves about Station Eleven for years, as well as, more recently, The Glass Hotel. But my first attempt into Station Eleven didn’t get me far so I just assumed Emily St. John Mandel wasn’t a writer for me. I’m not sure how to quantify how wrong I was. Because within pages of Mandel’sContinue reading “‘Sea of Tranquility’ Dizzying and Beautiful”

‘Iron Widow’ Smashes Expectations and Patriarchy

There are some books that are quiet, meditative pieces on, say, the nature of love. The meaning of life. The depths of loneliness. How hope can soar and crash and rise again. Xiran Jay Zhao’s Iron Widow is none of these things, and it’s proud of it. Zetian has lived to make herself as unattractiveContinue reading “‘Iron Widow’ Smashes Expectations and Patriarchy”

‘The Fervor’ An Uncomfortably Relevant Horror

Good horror will send a shiver down your spine. Great horror will revisit you in your quiet moments, reminding you that you’re never quite safe. But the best use of horror is the one that both frightens its audience and shows that the things that go bump in the night are nothing compared to whatContinue reading “‘The Fervor’ An Uncomfortably Relevant Horror”

‘Body’ Examines Many Facets of Race, Family

Race, as some say, is only skin deep—beneath different colored skin, we’re really all alike. And that’s true, to an extent. By and large, I think we can agree that gas prices are too high, cat videos are the heart and soul of the internet, and Kate Bush has quite the banger. Beneath the superficialityContinue reading “‘Body’ Examines Many Facets of Race, Family”

‘Tomorrow’ A Video-Game Tale Rooted in Reality

The tension of “will they or won’t they” has done a lot of heavy lifting for stories through the ages, including many that wouldn’t have been nearly as intriguing otherwise. In the case of Gabrielle Zevin’s Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, that question is a touchpoint throughout the years for its characters, but the answer isContinue reading “‘Tomorrow’ A Video-Game Tale Rooted in Reality”

‘Survivor Song’ a Prescient Tale

I had to stop multiple times while reading Paul Tremblay’s Survivor Song to check whether it had been written before or during the pandemic. And then check again, and again, because the way his fictional society reacted to his fictional outbreak felt far too close to reality circa March-April 2020. But Survivor Song was publishedContinue reading “‘Survivor Song’ a Prescient Tale”