Category Archives: book

“Runaway” by Alice Munro c. 2004 (pages 3-47 in Runaway: Stories)

In this complex and cinematic short story, Carla tries to escape her husband (Clark) with the help of her older neighbor (Sylvia, who is a widow). “Runaway” explores questions of self-definition and of unequal power dynamics within relationships. Sentences Worth … Continue reading

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“The Watch” by Rick Bass c. 2017 (pages 45-81 in For a Little While)

In this captivating short story, the protagonist Hollingsworth suffers from his own isolation and seeks to subdue and control the two other major characters in the story: his father Buzbee (who is a virile seventy-seven-year-old man who lives in the … Continue reading

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Exit West by Mohsin Hamid c. 2017 (231 pages—Riverhead Books)

Despite its magical elements—secret doors as portals to other countries—this novel strikes the reader as a real and very relevant commentary on xenophobia, violence, and the refugee crisis. While addressing these weighty issues, Hamid also manages to write a moving … Continue reading

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“Freeman Gottschall Experiences One or Two More or Less Improbable Events” by Joshua D. Graber c. 2016 (pages 153-181 in Glimmer Train)

This short story centers on the random events that impact the protagonist Freeman Gottschall, who was a student of the famed Edward Lorenz, known in popular culture for chaos theory and the “butterfly effect.” Although the story is short, it … Continue reading

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Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue c. 2016 (382 pages—Random House)

Set primarily in NYC during the subprime mortgage crisis, Mbue deftly shows the intersecting stories of two very different families: the Edwards and the Jongas. The Edwards are stoic Americans who want to maintain their lifestyle and keep up appearances. … Continue reading

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Blackass by A. Ignori Barrett c. 2015 (262 pages–Graywolf Press)

The main character, Furo, a black man, wakes up to discover he’s white. The story, set in Lagos (Nigeria), is a relevant reimagining of Kafka’s Metamorphosis that resonates with modern readers. Sentences Worth Studying “Furo Wariboko awoke this morning to … Continue reading

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