“I’m Trying to Demonstrate in a Way That Autobiography is Impossible”: An Interview With Brad Phillips

I didn’t know what to expect when Essays and Fictions showed up in my mailbox. All I really knew was that the guy who wrote it was a really talented artist from Canada named Brad Phillips. And also Tyrant Books was publishing it. Seemed up my alley, all of their stuff usually is. This one was different, though. It seemed more serious. And it is. Addiction plays a huge role for starters. And then there is death and fear and grief and identity. There’s a lot of love, too. As soon as I started reading it, I knew I was reading something special. Brad Phillips isn’t only a great visual artist from Canada, he’s a great writer as well, and this book may well be the closest thing to an instant classic I’ve chanced to read before its release.

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The Familiar and the Wild: Notes on Maryse Meijer’s “Northwood”

It’s been several weeks since I first read Maryse Meijer’s Northwood, and I’m still sorting out how best to classify it. For the record, I mean that in the “this is a feature, not a bug” kind of way. This is the sort of book for which the term “hybrid works” was invented: Meijer blends the quotidian with the folkloric, tells much of the story in verse, and utilizes a host of formally inventive page layouts along the way. If the most striking figure of the book’s design — white text on black pages — isn’t indicator enough, I’ll say it clearly: this is not a conventional read.

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Six Ridiculous Questions: Nina Buckless

The guiding principle of Six Ridiculous Questions is that life is filled with ridiculousness. And questions. That only by giving in to these truths may we hope to slip the surly bonds of reality and attain the higher consciousness we all crave. (Eh, not really, but it sounded good there for a minute.) It’s just. Who knows? The ridiculousness and question bits, I guess. Why six? Assonance, baby, assonance.

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Detection, Memory, and the Uncanny: A Review of Cristina Rivera Garza’s “The Taiga Syndrome”

There are books that get so close to being sublime that plot becomes almost irrelevant. Cristina Rivera Garza’s The Taiga Sydrome has a plot, but it’s exploration of memory, the way it uses language to communicate the ethereal, and the dreamy atmosphere punctuated by scenes of longing, investigation of a mystery, and brutality eventually overpower everything else and push the narrative into a realm where plot isn’t always the most crucial element.

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“I Wouldn’t Compromise My Vision for What I Perceived This Anthology to Be”: Jennifer Baker on the Making of “Everyday People”

In fourteen dazzling, exquisite, carefully selected stories, including by some of our most famous authors, ranging from Alexander Chee, to Yiyun Li, to Jason Reynolds, the brilliant anthology Everyday People fills a need for diversity while also raising haunting questions. How different would mainstream anthologies, like Best American Short Stories, O’Henry Stories, and others look, if the gatekeepers were consistently people of color, trans, non-binary and other editors from the margins? How different would MFA programs, and in turn, publishing, look? What will the world be like, when all the homogeneity leaves us? In her eloquent and thoughtful discussions about how the stories were selected and what they mean, Jennifer Baker points the way forward for #WeNeedDiverseBooks, in the form of a rigorous intellectual and critical engagement of what makes for a masterfully-told story.

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Vol.1 Brooklyn’s December 2018 Book Preview

As the year draws to a close, plenty of lists are appearing online looking back at the literary highlights of 2018. (Spoiler: we’ll have some of those in the coming weeks as well.) But the year isn’t over yet, and December still has plenty of intriguing books to offer us. From acclaimed and award-winning fiction to unpredictable poetry to challenging literature in translation, here are some of the most notable books due out this December. 

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Six Ridiculous Questions: Michael A. Ferro

The guiding principle of Six Ridiculous Questions is that life is filled with ridiculousness. And questions. That only by giving in to these truths may we hope to slip the surly bonds of reality and attain the higher consciousness we all crave. (Eh, not really, but it sounded good there for a minute.) It’s just. Who knows? The ridiculousness and question bits, I guess. Why six? Assonance, baby, assonance.

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