Postcards From a Pre-Tech Seattle: A Review of Thomas Kohnstamm’s “Lake City”

As Amazon sets upon its tax-sponsored path of evicting every last New Yorker, turn-of-the-millennium Seattle looms as the inexorable cautionary tale, the gold rush prototype of full-throttle technocratic gentrification. To apply a gauzy retrospective lens, the specter of early-2000s Seattle evokes not only a simpler, more innocent age, but one which augured the crises which would kneecap the soaring economy. In a cynical light, the murderer’s row of 21st century doomsdays—dot-com boom, housing bubble, Silicon Valley oligopoly, Facebook’s unfurling the carpet for Trump’s 2016 sweep—were beta-tested in a Seattle incubator.

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Vol.1 Brooklyn’s February 2019 Book Preview

This February brings with it plenty to savor, literarily speaking. Among the highlights from the month’s books are new works by the writers behind several of our recent favorites, from incisive nonfiction to imaginative fiction. There’s also some bold work appearing in translation for the first time. Here’s a look at some of the books we’re most excited about this month.

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Of Memory and Myth: “Fen” and “Everything Under”

Daisy Johnson’s Fen emerged seemingly out of nowhere. Here was a collection of tales overflowing with ideas and emotion, but firmly rooted in the ground. They were delightful beasts, written with a panache that showed a masterly style, as raw as it could be delicate, which punched you in the gut while displaying an odd fragility. Fen was a worldly, earthy book, which at the same time left an aftertaste of fairy-tale and folklore. It introduced us to Johnson’s protagonists: strong, lonely women, trapped at the sources of myth, taking us closely, at times uncomfortably closely, into their world. We could almost feel as if we were catching eels ourselves, as if we trod those lonely East Anglian towns in our Saturday night high heels. We had always known of the darkness in these places; but we had known it out of the corner of our eyes, intuitively. Now Johnson showed us that we had been right all along; and we felt as if we had met a friend, someone who understood this often forgotten part of the world.

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Six Ridiculous Questions: Shane Jesse Christmass


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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Dreams Upended, With Horror: A Review of Peter Stenson’s “Thirty Seven”

“I know all this,” claims the narrator of Peter Stenson’s scarring and hard-to-shake second novel, “because humans are all fundamentally the same. We are a desk of control switches in a recording studio. Our only differences are the… levels and mixing.” This bleak notion proves a navigational star for the narrative, one that draws us on even as it makes our skin crawl.

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Six Ridiculous Questions: Kelly Luce

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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