Off-Kilter and Tilted: A Journey Through Robert Vaughan’s “Askew”


Robert Vaughan’s latest is meant to unsettle. The book is broken down into three subsections of poems and microfictions: Cacophony, Aviary, and Demented. A key for my reading comes from “Tilted” from Christine & the Queens: “I start the books at the end/ I got my chin up for nothing/ My crying eye is because of the wind/ My absences are a feeling/ I can’t stand…I pretend to have understood everything.”  So much of Askew is about atmosphere, of feeling unable to stand because of circumstance, of not understanding fully what has transpired and why it happened. I got my critic’s chin up, only to feel like interpretation and categorization isn’t the game here. 

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One Dissident Artist, One Authoritarian State: An Excerpt from Ravi Mangla’s “The Observant”

The Observant

What does it mean to be an artist living in an authoritarian regime? That’s one of the questions that Ravi Mangla wrestles with in his new novel The Observant. It’s a question that has come into play countless times in the real world, which provided Mangla with the inspiration behind this book, which focuses on a filmmaker living in a totalitarian state weighing the cost of his own freedom. As we did with Mangla’s earlier novel Understudies, we’re happy to be publishing an excerpt from this gripping new work.

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Exchange, We Change: A Review of “My Jewel Box”

My Jewel Box

that was it

was that it

Maybe it’s my age that made me start singing Nirvana’s Heart-Shaped Box. Or maybe I just can’t stop thinking about vaginas. Regardless, it was the first thought I had when looking down at the black and pink cover of Ursula Andkjaer Olsen’s My Jewel Box, translated by Katrine Ogaard Jensen.  The title, the colors, the image of something like a large urn or oven opening to the viewer in front of a framed image of what looks like an eclipse, holes upon holes—it read to me as vagina, as female, as the core of feminine power.  

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Start Repeat, 1982: An Excerpt From “The Autodidacts” by Thomas Kendall

The Autodidacts

We’re pleased to present an excerpt from Thomas Kendall’s novel The Autodidacts, out now on Whisk(e)y Tit. It follows a series of events that take place in the days and years that follow a man’s disappearance from a lighthouse, and the relics that he leaves behind. Dennis Cooper said that The Autodidacts is “as haunted as any fiction in recent memory.”

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Vol. 1 Brooklyn’s July 2022 Book Preview

July 2022 Books

What are we looking forward to reading this month? Stories of the uncanny, for one thing. Candid true-life stories, for another. If there’s a running theme here, it might well involve New England, which several of the writers with books out this month have ties to. Does this prefigure us spinning off Vol. 1 New England? We can’t say for sure, but if you read on, we can point you in the direction of some notable July books.

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