Category Archives: book

The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri c. 2013 (340 pages—Knopf)

(Note: This summary contains spoilers.) “The Lowland” is Shakespearian in its representation of family drama. Udayan (the radical and rebellious brother) is murdered by government forces when Subhash (the studious, rule-follower) is in the US furthering his education. After a … Continue reading

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“Puppy” by George Saunders c. 2013 (pages 31-43 in Tenth of December)

Marie, a mother with a painful past, tries to adopt puppies from a sketchy household. Throughout the story, Marie contrasts her experience as a child with the experiences that she bestows upon her own children, a juxtaposition that adds depth … Continue reading

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The Night Child by Anna Quinn c. 2018 (224 pages—Blackstone Publishing)

A suspensive story told from the third-person limited perspective in which the protagonist, Nora, wrestles with a past trauma. Written in the present tense, a decision that heightens the urgency and suspense of the narrative, the past is revealed to … Continue reading

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The Last Cowboys of San Geronimo by Ian Stansel c. 2017 (192 pages—Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

A story about a battle between Silas and Frank, brothers whose feud is rooted in the fate of the family ranch. The story opens after Silas, a rugged traditionalist, shoots Frank, his business-minded brother. The tension of the book lies … Continue reading

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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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