“The Best Critique is Self Critique”: Talking “Endless Scroll” and Alienation With BODEGA

BODEGA‘s new album Endless Scroll is a spot-on distillation of a slice of city life circa now, from contradictory impressions of the larger world to frustrations over rampant consumerism and technologically-driven alienation. Add some minimalist, propulsive postpunk to the mix and you have a mightily compelling record. We talked with singer/guitarist Ben Hozie about Endless Scroll, media saturation, and more.

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The Star War Against Cliché: On Malcolm Mc Neill’s “Tetra”

Science fiction abounds with stories of chosen ones, space messiahs, and figures whose stories and histories are inexorably linked to destiny. It’s made for some of the genre’s most well-known works, but it’s also served as an excuse for lazy writing and tropes that, after several decades, can feel utterly exhausting. It’s gotten to the point where the subversion of this can feel revolutionary: numerous reviews of last year’s Blade Runner 2049 singled out its handling of this trope for […]

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A Haunting Tale of Soccer and Anger: Karl Taro Greenfeld on Writing “True”

True, the new novel by Karl Taro Greenfeld, does an absolutely fantastic job of blending two seemingly disparate qualities: the title character (and the book’s narrator) can be detached and analytical while observing her life, but is also capable of deeply visceral acts as she makes her way through the world of women’s soccer in the late 1990s. As she balances a fractious home life with a skill for the game, her amount of internal tension approaches critical levels, leading […]

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Crime Scenes in Miniature: Nadxieli Nieto and Lincoln Michel on Editing “Tiny Crimes”

Some crime stories are epics, filling narratives that span hundreds or pages or across multiple volumes. Some crime stories require a little less space, but pack all of the visceral charm of their counterparts. That’s what you can expect from the new anthology Tiny Crimes: Very Short Tales of Mystery and Murder, edited by Lincoln Michel and Nadxieli Nieto. Along the way, the anthology also showcases the range of the stories that can be told within the boundaries of crime […]

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Bodies Evoked in Words: Two Views of Activism, Illness, and Art

Whether overtly or subtly, you can learn a lot about the world that produced a book, film, or painting if you look closely enough to the circumstances of its making. Some creative works are themselves a start to a debate, a refutation of a political point, or a heated argument in textual form. For decades now, healthcare in the United States has been a hotly-debated issue. It’s no shock to see that the ongoing debates around the Affordable Care Act–from […]

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“The Impetus to Make Something Is the Same”: Exitmusic on Making “The Recognitions”

Some albums contain moments of stark emotional candor; others channel haunting moments of stunning beauty. The Recognitions, the latest album from Exitmusic, manages the difficult task of doing both. It is at once a neatly crafted work of cinematic pop with an almost tactile sense of atmosphere and a document of the divorce of Exitmusic’s founders, Aleksa Palladino and Devon Church. The album draws inspiration from a host of disparate elements, from the William Gaddis novel that gives this album […]

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“I’d Never Section Off Any Aspect of My Life From Writing”: Joanna Walsh on the Genesis of “Break.up”

Joanna Walsh‘s bibliography spans fiction and nonfiction, and frequently eludes easy categorization. Her latest book, Break.up, is subtitled “A Novel in Essays.” It might seem head-spinning at first, but once you’re enmeshed in its narrative–an account of a trip across Europe, with abundant reflections on intimacy and distance–the book’s structure memorably clicks into place. Accentuated by quotes from other works, Walsh’s narrative blends the familiar and the philosophical, creating a bold and unexpected reading experience. I talked with Walsh about […]

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“Part of the Joy Is In the Mystery”: An Interview With William Boyle

The Lonely Witness, William Boyle‘s new novel, abounds with moral complexity and one of the strongest senses of place you’re likely to encounter this year. Amy, the novel’s protagonist, lives a quiet life in relative isolation in Gravesend–until the return of several people from her past, and a brutal killing, force her to re-evaluate just who she is. It’s a subdued and unnerving narrative, with a host of unpredictable characters, leading to a powerful conclusion. It’s part of a big […]

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