Fiction

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To Live Ideologically Is to Narrow Your Life

To Live Ideologically Is to Narrow Your Life

A novelist, essayist, and filmmaker, Xiaolu Guo was born in a Chinese fishing village in 1973. She attended the Beijing Film Academy before moving to London in 2002. In 2013, Ms. Guo was named one of ...

Where We Are for the Time Being with Ruth Ozeki

Where We Are for the Time Being with Ruth Ozeki

Ruth Ozeki is a novelist, filmmaker, and a Zen Buddhist priest. She is the author of three novels: My Year of Meats (1998), All Over Creation (2003), and A Tale for the Time Being (2013). Her website ...

Troubled Narrators, Troubled Times

Troubled Narrators, Troubled Times

It should be sufficient to say that I am Juan Pablo Castel, the painter who killed Maria Iribarne. I imagine that the trial is still in everyone’s mind and that no further information about myself i...

Whether to Betray Her Country or Her Heart

Whether to Betray Her Country or Her Heart

THE SMALL BUT PROUD nation of Azerbaijan stands at the cusp of Asia and Europe, at the crossroads of Turkish, Persian, and Russian cultures. Ever-besieged by its powerful neighbors, yet ever-determine...

Blank Space on the Family Tree

Blank Space on the Family Tree

In her powerful debut novel The Invention of Exile (Penguin), Vanessa Manko juggles timeless themes of displacement, separation, loss, and love. In 1913 Austin Voronkov, a Russian engineer, immigrat...

Improbable Journey

Improbable Journey

I CALLED HIM A BASTARD to his bones. “Existimos por culpa de este cabrón,” I said, staring up at the sarcophagus holding the remains of Cristóbal Colón, a.k.a. Christopher Columbus, in the Cat...

Something Rotten in Denmark

Something Rotten in Denmark

I WAS INTRODUCED to Nordic noir in the same way as most readers: someone handed me a copy of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. When the novel was at the peak of its popularity, I had resisted reading i...

Inadvertent Cruelty

Inadvertent Cruelty

IN ONE OF HIS childhood’s grimmer chapters, the novelist Colm Tóibín and his younger brother, Niall — ages eight and four, respectively — were left to stay with their aunt while their mother ...

Here Be Monsters

Here Be Monsters

WATCHING The X-Files growing up, I was always more of a “Monster-of-the-Week” fan: flukeman, the Bat Creature, even a Giovanni Ribsi who controls lightning. I wanted to know what made them monste...

Fatally Cleaved

Fatally Cleaved

ONCE, EARLY ON in my waitressing career, while clearing one of my tables, I found a sapphire and diamond ring on the floor. I flirted with the idea of taking the ring — God knows I could’ve used ...

Speaking of Memory: Nabokov’s Folded Fabric

Speaking of Memory: Nabokov’s Folded Fabric

EARLY IN THE PAGES of his memoir, Speak, Memory, Vladimir Nabokov confesses that he is a “chronophobic,” that he in fact not only fears but also doesn’t “believe in time,” that he is less im...

Girl Trouble

Girl Trouble

IT BEGAN, as trends do, with the cheerleaders. Katie Krautwurst, a blond high school cheerleader from Le Roy, New York, woke up from a nap to discover she couldn’t stop twitching. Two weeks later, h...

Andrew Coburn: The Understated Noirist

Andrew Coburn: The Understated Noirist

IT WAS IN 1980 that I first came across Andrew Coburn’s Off Duty, a tightly plotted novel in which one would be hard-pressed to identify the primary criminals: a pair of cops, a real estate agent, t...

Stream of Pre-Consciousness

Stream of Pre-Consciousness

“Please tell me you love me. You sleep. You sleeping. When I know. I think your face the very best. When we were we were we were young. When you were little and I was girl. Once upon a time.” (A G...