Category Archives: book

The Moonlight Palace by Liz Rosenberg c. 2014 (164 pages—Lake Union Publishing)

Set in Singapore in the 1920, “The Moonlight Palace” is a novella that explores the often blurry and always complex web of cultural heritage. Agnes, the young female protagonist, who is the last surviving member of her royal family, lives … Continue reading

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“Snow Blind” by Elizabeth Strout c. 2015 (pages 306-319 in The O. Henry Prize Stories–originally published in Virginia Quarterly Review)

A short story that illustrates the “Iceberg Theory,” as it manages to convey much using few words. The expansive arc of this story encompasses a girl growing up and going away, realizing a dark truth about her family in the … Continue reading

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The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier c. 2006 (252 pages—Random House)

This inventive story connects the struggles of corporate-sponsored “researchers” to the dramas of deceased people existing in a magical city. During the book, it becomes clear that researcher Laura Byrd—who spends most of the novel alone in the Artic—is the … Continue reading

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“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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