New Books in Literature

Marshall Poe

Interviews with Writers about their New Books Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/literature read less
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Marie-Helene Bertino, "Beautyland" (FSG, 2024)
Yesterday
Marie-Helene Bertino, "Beautyland" (FSG, 2024)
At the moment when Voyager 1 is launched into space carrying its famous golden record, a baby of unusual perception is born to a single mother in Philadelphia. Adina Giorno is tiny and jaundiced, but she reaches for warmth and light. As a child, she recognizes that she is different: She possesses knowledge of a faraway planet. The arrival of a fax machine enables her to contact her extraterrestrial relatives, beings who have sent her to report on the oddities of Earthlings. For years, as she moves through the world and makes a life for herself among humans, she dispatches transmissions on the terrors and surprising joys of their existence. Then, at a precarious moment, a beloved friend urges Adina to share her messages with the world. Is there a chance she is not alone? Marie-Helene Bertino's Beautyland (FSG, 2024) is a novel of startling originality about the fragility and resilience of life on our Earth and in our universe. It is a remarkable evocation of the feeling of being in exile at home, and it introduces a gentle, unforgettable alien for our times. Marie-Helene Bertino is the author of the novels PARAKEET (New York Times Editors’ Choice) and 2 A.M. AT THE CAT’S PAJAMAS (NPR Best Books 2014), and the story collection SAFE AS HOUSES (Iowa Short Fiction Award). Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Electric Literature, Tin House, McSweeneys, and elsewhere. She has been awarded The Frank O’Connor International Short Story Fellowship in Cork, Ireland, The O. Henry Prize, The Pushcart Prize, fellowships from MacDowell, Hedgebrook Writers Colony, The Center For Fiction NYC, and Sewanee Writers Conference. Her work has twice been featured on NPR’s “Selected Shorts” program. She currently teaches in the Creative Writing program at Yale University. Recommended Books: Tea Obreht, The Morning Side Diana Khoi Nguyen, Root Fractures Chris Holmes is Chair of Literatures in English and Associate Professor at Ithaca College. He writes criticism on contemporary global literatures. His book, Kazuo Ishiguro Against World Literature, is under contract with Bloomsbury Publishing. He is the co-director of The New Voices Festival, a celebration of work in poetry, prose, and playwriting by up-and-coming young writers. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/literature
Kate Quinn and Janie Chang, "The Phoenix Crown" (William Morrow, 2024)
3d ago
Kate Quinn and Janie Chang, "The Phoenix Crown" (William Morrow, 2024)
Kate Quinn and Janie Chang are independently acclaimed authors of historical fiction, both of whom have previously appeared on this podcast channel. Here they combine their skills to tell a story about the 1906 San Francisco earthquake from multiple points of view. One line follows the story of Alice Eastwood, a botanist whom we meet in London five years after the tragedy. Her perspective is contrasted with that of Gemma Garland, an aspiring opera star whose unique voice can’t quite compensate for the migraines that sideline her just as she’s about to make her mark on the world. The third narrator is a young Chinese-American named Feng Suling (“Susie” to the rich white customers who can’t be bothered to learn her name), with a gift for embroidery and a grand ambition: to escape the arranged marriage her uncle plans for her and reunite with Reggie, the love she has lost. How these three stories intersect and overlap, united by the Phoenix Crown and the man who owns it, I’ll leave for readers to discover. Each chapter is marked by its proximity to the forthcoming earthquake (unknown to the protagonists, of course), but even without that impending threat, the story will draw you in and keep you hooked. Kate Quinn is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of numerous previous works of historical fiction, ranging from ancient Rome to the 1950s. The Phoenix Crown is her latest novel. Janie Chang is the award-winning and bestselling author of four previous historical novels, including The Library of Legends and The Porcelain Moon. The Phoenix Crown is her most recent book. C. P. Lesley is the author of two historical fiction series set during the childhood of Ivan the Terrible and three other novels. Her latest book—The Merchant’s Tale, cowritten with P.K. Adams—appeared in November 2023. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/literature
"Michigan Quarterly Review" magazine
6d ago
"Michigan Quarterly Review" magazine
Chandrica Barua is the Nonfiction and Online Editor for MQR. A PhD candidate in the Department of English Language and Literature, her dissertation focuses on encounters between imperial objects and colonial bodies in the British Empire, especially in British India. She hails from Assam, India. What draws an editor to a particular essay? In Chandrica Barua’s case, her criteria definitely include: whether the essay is inventive in form (for instance, by being a hybrid or “braided” essay that brings together different topical strands) and if it surprises the reader by where it goes. Also of note are factors like: does it have a compelling title, a strong start, and a satisfying moment of closure? The first of the essays discussed here comes from a special, forthcoming African literature issue. Does Emelda Nyaradzai Gwitimah’s “My Hairdresser Is Dead” have an intriguing title? Absolutely, along with a sense of humor missing in many memoirs. In turn, another African essay, “Side Pieces” by Chike Frankie Edozien, looks at how gay sexual practices both operate outside of marriage norms and yet, in the end, conform to those norms to a degree. From the 2024 Winter issue, we discussed Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach’s “Zombie Tag,” about a Jewish refugee from the Ukraine and her autistic son obsessed with lizards because their identities change through camouflage. Finally, a visual essay, “Enacting Masculinity” by McCain Thomas, uses redacted legislative proposals from four Southern states to show how oppressive and misguided attempts can be to limit the rights of transgender people. Dan Hill, PhD, is the author of ten books and leads Sensory Logic, Inc. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/literature
Mako Yoshikawa, "Secrets of the Sun: A Memoir" (Mad Creek Books, 2024)
Feb 20 2024
Mako Yoshikawa, "Secrets of the Sun: A Memoir" (Mad Creek Books, 2024)
Mako Yoshikawa's Secrets of the Sun: A Memoir (Mad Creek Books 2024) contains a host of essays about her difficult, brilliant father. Shoichi Yoshikawa grew up in a wealthy family in 1930s Japan, but his mother died when he was five, and he died alone on the eve of Mako’s wedding. He had been a genius, renowned for his research in nuclear fusion and respected at Princeton, until he fell apart. She remembered him being alternatingly kind or violent when bipolar disease gripped him. Her mother packed up and left the house with Mako and her sisters, later remarrying a wonderful man and brilliant chess player who Mako considered the father she always wanted. Mako wants to understand him; why he cross-dressed, why he was so passionate about fusion, why he alienated his daughters so that he hadn’t even been invited to Mako’s wedding. Mako Yoshikawa is the author of the novels One Hundred and One Ways and Once Removed. Her novels have been translated into six languages; awards include a Massachusetts Cultural Council Grant and a Radcliffe Fellowship. As a literary critic, she has published articles that explore the relationship between incest and race in 20th-century American fiction. After her father’s death in 2010, Mako began writing about him and their relationship: essays which have appeared in the Missouri Review, Southern Indiana Review, Harvard Review, Story, Lit Hub, Longreads, and Best American Essays. These essays became the basis for her new memoir, Secrets of the Sun. Yoshikawa grew up in Princeton, New Jersey but spent two years of her childhood in Tokyo, Japan. She received a B.A. in English literature from Columbia University, a Masters in Shakespeare and Renaissance Drama at Lincoln College, Oxford, and a Ph. D. in English literature from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Mako is a professor of creative writing and the director of the MFA program at Emerson College. In addition to her MFA classes, Mako teaches Comedic Lit to undergraduates in Emerson’s Comedic Arts program. She also teaches as often as she can in the Emerson Prison Initiative, a degree-granting program that is based in MCI-Norfolk, a medium-security prison for men. She lives with her husband and two unruly cats in Boston and Baltimore. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/literature
Sheila Heti Speaks About Awe with Sunny Yudkoff (JP)
Feb 16 2024
Sheila Heti Speaks About Awe with Sunny Yudkoff (JP)
In this fantastic recent episode from our colleagues at Novel Dialogue, Sheila Heti sits down with Sunny Yudkoff and John to discuss her incredibly varied oeuvre. She does it all: stories, novels, alphabetized diary entries as well as a series of dialogues in the New Yorker with an AI named Alice. Drawing on her background in Jewish Studies, Sunny prompts Sheila to unpack the implicit and explicit theology of her recent Pure Colour (Sheila admits she “spent a lot of time thinking about …what God’s pronouns are going to be” )–as well as the protagonist’s temporary transformation into a leaf. The three also explore how life and lifelikeness shape How Should a Person Be. Sheila explains why “auto-fiction” strikes her as a “bad category” and “a lazy way of thinking about what the author is doing formally” since “the history of literature is authors melding their imagination with their lived experience.” if you enjoyed this Novel Dialogue crossover conversation, you might also check out earlier ones with Joshua Cohen, Charles Yu, Caryl Phillips, Jennifer Egan, Helen Garner and Orhan Pamuk. Mentioned in this Episode: By Sheila Heti: Pure Colour How Should a Person Be? Alphabetical Diaries Ticknor We Need a Horse (children’s book) The Chairs are Where the People Go (with Misha Glouberman) Also mentioned: Oulipo Group Autofiction: e.g. Ben Lerner, Rachel Cusk, Karl Ove Knausgard Craig Seligman, Sontag and Kael George Eliot, Middlemarch Clarice Lispector (e.g. The Hour of the Star) Kenneth Goldsmith Soliloquy Willa Cather , The Professor’s House (overlap of reality and recollection): “When I look into the Æneid now, I can always see two pictures: the one on the page, and another behind that: blue and purple rocks and yellow-green piñons with flat tops, little clustered houses clinging together for protection, a rude tower rising in their midst, rising strong, with calmness and courage–behind it a dark grotto, in its depths a crystal spring.”) William Steig, Sylvester and The Magic Pebble. Listen and Read: Transcript: 6.6 Overtaken by Awe: Sheila Heti speaks with Sunny Yudkoff Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/literature
Deborah Taffa, "Whiskey Tender: A Memoir" (Harper, 2024)
Feb 15 2024
Deborah Taffa, "Whiskey Tender: A Memoir" (Harper, 2024)
Today’s book is: Whiskey Tender: A Memoir (Harper, 2024), by Deborah Jackson Taffa, who was raised to believe that some sacrifices were necessary to achieve a better life. Her grandparents—citizens of the Quechan (Yuma) Nation and Laguna Pueblo tribe—were sent to Indian boarding schools run by white missionaries, while her parents were encouraged to take part in governmental job training off the reservation. Assimilation meant relocation, but as Deborah Jackson Taffa matured into adulthood, she began to question the promise handed down by her elders and by American society: that if she gave up her culture, her land, and her traditions, she would not only be accepted, but would be able to achieve the “American Dream.”  Whiskey Tender traces how a mixed tribe native girl—born on the California Quechan (Yuma) reservation and raised in Navajo territory in New Mexico—comes to her own interpretation of identity, despite her parent’s desires for her to transcend the class and “Indian” status of her birth through education, and despite the Quechan tribe’s particular traditions and beliefs regarding oral and recorded histories. Her childhood memories unspool into meditations on tribal identity, the rampant criminalization of Native men, governmental assimilation policies, the Red Power movement, and the negotiation between belonging and resisting systemic oppression. Pan-Indian, as well as specific tribal histories and myths, blend with stories of a 1970s and 1980s childhood spent on and off the reservation. Deborah Jackson Taffa offers a sharp and thought-provoking historical analysis laced with humor and heart. As she reflects on her past and present—the promise of assimilation and the many betrayals her family has suffered, both personal and historical; trauma passed down through generations—she reminds us of how the cultural narratives of her ancestors have been excluded from the central mythologies and structures of the “melting pot” of America, revealing all that is sacrificed for the promise of acceptance. Our guest is: Deborah Jackson Taffa, who is a citizen of the Quechan (Yuma) Nation and Laguna Pueblo. She earned her MFA at the Iowa Writers Workshop, and is the Director of the MFA in Creative Writing Program at the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Her writing has appeared in The Rumpus, Boston Review, Los Angeles Review of Books, A Public Space, Salon, the Huffington Post, Prairie Schooner, The Best Travel Writing, and other outlets.  Our host is: Dr. Christina Gessler, the creator of the Academic Life podcast. She holds a PhD in history, which she uses to explore which stories we tell and what happens to those we don’t. Listeners may also be interested in this playlist: This discussion of the book A Calm and Normal Heart, with Chelsea T. Hicks The conversation about the book Night of the Living Rez, with Morgan Talty Welcome to Academic Life, the podcast for your academic journey—and beyond! Join us to learn from experts inside and outside the academy, and around the world. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/literature
Garnett Kilberg Cohen, "Cravings" (U Wisconsin Press, 2024)
Feb 13 2024
Garnett Kilberg Cohen, "Cravings" (U Wisconsin Press, 2024)
Garnett Kilberg Cohen’s fourth short story collection, Cravings (University of Wisconsin Press, 2024), contains twelve beautifully-written tales. They each start simply before delving into universal human struggles of love, aging, repercussions, and community. Characters mull over or confront decisions and recognize or bemoan past mistakes. A little girl’s life changes while she’s sneaking olives from the pantry, a woman is plunged back in time while attending the book release of her ex, parents of a disabled child struggle as their marriage frays, the daughter of an ex appears on television, and a woman destroys the reputation of her only friend. The collection is about cravings of one kind or another, but also covers a range of complex emotions that arise over the course of a lifetime. Garnett Kilberg Cohen was born and raised in Ohio and feels a strong connection to the Midwest, a place in her memory that is replete with farms, small towns, car factories and fields of corn and purple clover. As a child, she was paid one cent for every five dandelions she ripped by the roots from her family’s yard. Her favorite drink was a cherry phosphate sipped while twirling on a stool at the marble counter of the village drug store. Yet, she was aware of the secrets and trauma often just below the surface. Cravings is Cohen’s fourth collection of short stories. She has also published a poetry chapbook, Passion Tour and multiple essays in such places as Rumpus, Antioch Review, The New Yorker online and Michigan Quarterly Review. Her honors include The Crazyhorse Fiction Prize, four awards from the Illinois Arts Council, and two Notable Essay citations from Best American Essays. In addition to writing and reading, she enjoys drawing, taking long walks, theater, museums and travel. In recent years, she has been fortunate to travel to far-flung places such as Taiwan, Australia, Laos, Tanzania, Iceland and Mexico. She believes that observation is often the key to understanding and inspiration for writing—even if the travel is just to a new neighborhood in the city where she now lives, Chicago. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/literature
"The New England Review" magazine: A Discussion with Elizabeth Kadetsky
Feb 8 2024
"The New England Review" magazine: A Discussion with Elizabeth Kadetsky
The New England Review bills itself as a “snapshot of the literary moment,” which for my guest Elizabeth Kadetsky means great writing, of course, but also work that’s relevant to today and showcases a writer able to get out of her or his own head by getting out into the world at large. Fittingly, this episode jumps in locale from Greece to India to Sudan and, finally, to New York City. In every case, a reckoning is taking place—a chance to ponder objects, people, events to try and grasp their value and meaning. In Greece as explored by Joseph Pearson in “The Island That Eats Its People,” a treacherous local landscape doesn’t prove to be nearly as daunting as the war-torn Syria some refugees the writer encounters have come from. In “Stories: South Sudan by Adrie Kusserow,” the key is realizing that as a NGO worker in Africa and a witness to the trauma-aid being insufficiently offered to refugees relocated to Vermont, she’s an outsider always. The episode also includes two pieces by Kadetsky outside the scope of NER: “The Goddess Complex” about looted art that makes its way from India to NYC, and my guest’s fascination with her own experiences with graffiti bombing and the documentary Downtown 81 co-starring the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat and the singer Debbie Harry from Blonde. Elizabeth Kadetsky has been a Fullbright Scholar and serves as a Professor of English and Creative Writing at Penn State. Her collection of essays, The Memory Eaters, was published by University of Massachusetts Press in 2020. Kadetsky is NER’s Creative Nonfiction Editor. Dan Hill, PhD, is the author of ten books and leads Sensory Logic, Inc. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/literature
Teresa H. Janssen, "The Ways of Water" (She Writes Press, 2023)
Feb 6 2024
Teresa H. Janssen, "The Ways of Water" (She Writes Press, 2023)
Josie Belle Gore is only six years old when we meet her in 1908, yet her father has tied a rope around her waist and is lowering her into a dark well to retrieve a dead animal that is poisoning the water. The third daughter of a growing family, Josie has moved with her family from western Texas to Arizona, then eastward again, settling in the New Mexican desert region known as the Jornada del Muerto. Her father, a railroad engineer, spends much of his time away, and it is her mother who holds the family together through poverty, sickness, and drought. From an early age, Josie learns that her lot in life is to subsume her own interests to those of her family. Although she yearns to become a teacher, even mastering basic literacy is a challenge in a region where schools are few and far between, household chores never-ending, and such basic needs as food and water not always met. As her father falls prey to alcoholism, loses one job after another, and repeatedly uproots the family in search of a better future, Josie clings to the principles her mother has inculcated in her—until one day, she realizes that the price for tolerating that life has risen too high. Based on the life of the author’s grandmother, Josie’s story sounds grim, but the telling of it is not. Hauntingly beautiful in its evocation of the American Southwest and Northern Mexico, this novel will draw you in, even as it gives you a whole new appreciation of the hardships that many of our ancestors endured. Teresa H. Janssen, a former language and social studies teacher, writes, hikes, tends a small orchard, and is involved in several educational initiatives. The Ways of Water (She Writes Press, 2023) is her debut novel. C. P. Lesley is the author of two historical fiction series set during the childhood of Ivan the Terrible and three other novels. Her latest book—The Merchant’s Tale, co-written with P.K. Adams—appeared in November 2023. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/literature
Karen Rigby, "Fabulosa" (JackLeg Press, 2024)
Feb 6 2024
Karen Rigby, "Fabulosa" (JackLeg Press, 2024)
After her prize-winning debut, Karen Rigby returns with a beguiling ars poetica and tribute to the dazzling. From Dior to Olympic figure skating, Bruegel to British crime drama, Rigby’s poems revere memorable art, where “performance masks the hours.” Here, thread galvanizes air. A poem is a diamond heist. And menace and elegance are twin gloves directing each cinematic moment. A book of feminine ardor, teenaged MDD and survival, Fabulosa (Jackleg Press, 2024) embroiders beauty out of ache, raises culturally difficult topics with poise, and helps readers feel seen with elegance and originality. Born in the Republic of Panama in 1979, Karen Rigby now lives and writes in Arizona. Her latest poetry book, Fabulosa, is forthcoming from JackLeg Press in 2024. Her debut poetry book, Chinoiserie, was selected by Paul Hoover for a 2011 Sawtooth Poetry Prize.Karen’s work has been honored by a National Endowment for the Arts literature fellowship, a Vermont Studio Center Fellowship, and an Artist Opportunity Grant from the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council. She is a 2023 recipient of an Artist Opportunity Grant from the Arizona Commission on the Arts. Her poetry is published in journals such as The London Magazine, Poetry Northwest, The Oxonian Review, and Australian Book Review. She is a freelance book reviewer and lives in Arizona. Preorder Fabulosa here. You can learn more about Megan Wildhood at meganwildhood.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/literature
Jo Salas, "Mrs. Lowe-Porter" (Jackleg Press, 2024)
Feb 6 2024
Jo Salas, "Mrs. Lowe-Porter" (Jackleg Press, 2024)
Mrs. Lowe-Porter (Jackleg Press 2024) was an American writer (1876-1963) who, after proving her ability, was contracted by publisher Alfred A. Knopf to translate the brilliant books and stories of Thomas Mann from 1924 -1960. Her flowing German to English translations led to Mann’s growing reputation and helped earn him the 1929 Nobel Prize in Literature. In 1911, she married paleographer Elias Lowe, with whom she had three children and many good years, but he was also another dominating man in her life (in addition to Mann and Knopf). Lowe-Porter wrote numerous stories and one original play that was performed in 1948, but her struggle to write and publish was stymied by convention and the requirements of her time. On a side note, she was also the great-grandmother of former U.K. prime minister, Boris Johnson. Jo Salas is a New Zealander now living in upstate New York. She has a BA in English literature from Victoria University in New Zealand and an MM in music therapy from New York University. As the cofounder of Playback Theatre, an original theatre practice based on personal stories, Jo has published numerous articles and four books including Improvising Real Life, now in 10 translations. Her fiction includes the Pushcart-nominated short story “After,” and the Pen & Brush award winner “Antarctica.” Jo’s first novel, Dancing with Diana, is about a young man in a wheelchair who met the future princess when they were both 15 years old. When she's not reading or writing, Jo is likely to be teaching international students how to enact real people’s stories, playing hide-and-seek with her grandkids, or marching on the street with other social justice activists. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/literature
"Fourth Genre" Magazine: A Chat with Patrick Madden and Joey Franklin
Feb 1 2024
"Fourth Genre" Magazine: A Chat with Patrick Madden and Joey Franklin
Patrick Madden and Joey Franklin are English professors at Brigham Young University. Madden’s latest book is Disparates (U Nebraska Press, 2020) and Franklin’s is The Writer's Hustle: A Professional Guide to the Creativity, Discipline, Humility, and Grit Every Writer Needs to Flourish (Bloomsbury, 2022). They serve as co-editors-in-chief of Fourth Genre. Two guest voices in this episode means twice the fun, as Patrick Madden and Joey Franklin reinforce as well as diverge somewhat in their essay preferences. Madden is more in the Montaigne reflection vein, whereas Franklin admits he can prefer a narrative-driven memoir approach. Together, we worked our way through three essays from a recent issue of Fourth Genre, one of three magazines that spearheaded a renewed appreciation for the essay form beginning a quarter of a century ago. Both editors enjoyed the surprises that bubble up in Peggy Shinner’s essay, “The Rest Is History,” which explores the conflation of female sexuality and nuclear testing during World War Two and on Bikini Atoll subsequently. Kabi Hartman’s essay “Nipple Day” visits and revisits the circumstances surrounding her own father’s leering behavior, trying to make sense of it all. Finally, on a quieter note is “Garden Hunter” by Joanne Hartman, where the beauty of nature contrasts with parents falling apart physically and between themselves prior to their ultimate deaths. Dan Hill, PhD, is the author of ten books and leads Sensory Logic, Inc. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/literature
Cynthia J. Sylvester, "The Half-White Album" (U New Mexico Press, 2023)
Jan 30 2024
Cynthia J. Sylvester, "The Half-White Album" (U New Mexico Press, 2023)
Cynthia Sylvester's The Half-White Album (University of New Mexico Press 2023) is a collection of stories, flash fiction, and poems revolving around the journey of a travelling band, The Covers. The stories are songs on the album, beginning with “Live at the House of Towers,” about a woman’s memories of her mother and home. The story of Shima (and her husband Claude) begins with all of her six daughters being taken by missionaries. The 10-year-old youngest, whom she calls The Last One, and the missionaries call Ruth, keeps running away. Shima is afraid because the missionaries will teach them to forget the songs and stories of their people. In Live at the House at the Edge of the World, Ruth is grown and eating dinner with Albert. We meet Margarita, who was born with cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair and a parade of other characters who struggle to love, live, and survive in a harsh world. These are stories of hope and despair, family and banishment, based out west in what was once the wide-ranging country of native American tribes. Cynthia Sylvester is born into the Kiyaa’áanii Clan for the Bilagáana Clan and is an enrolled member of the Diné. She is a native of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Her work has appeared in numerous literary magazines. She received the Native Writer Award at the Taos Writer’s Conference. She graduated from the University of New Mexico and received her MFA in creative writing from the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. Cynthia hosts Albuquerque DimeStories—3-minute stories written and read by the author. Hosting DimeStories is a way to give back and foster a writing community. A community of writers is at the core of what she attributes to her success, endurance, and joy in writing. Writing is a solitary endeavor. “So much of what we writers write never sees the light of day.” A DimeStorie, fiction or non-fiction, is a way to have an achievable goal each month (about 500 words) and provides a venue to read the work to a receptive audience. Having a community of writers is important because Cynthia, like many writers, works a “9 to 5.” Her profession for over thirty years has been physical therapy. She comes from a line of “medicine women.” Her mother and aunts were nurses, and she and her sister have health professions. Cynthia’s career in medicine is often reflected in her work as a writer. When not working as a writer or a PT, Cynthia loves to box, take walks with her wife and their dog, Zeus, hang out with friends and family and talk about writing, TV shows, movies, books, sports, what happened last week or last year, whatever if there is a story involved, Cynthia is in her happy place. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/literature
Leo Ríos, "Lencho," The Common magazine (2023)
Jan 26 2024
Leo Ríos, "Lencho," The Common magazine (2023)
Leo Ríos speaks to managing editor Emily Everett about his story “Lencho,” which appears in The Common’s most recent issue, in a portfolio from the immigrant farmworker community. Leo talks about the process of writing and revising this story, which explores the friendship between two high school seniors in a rural community in California’s Central Valley. Leo also discusses his family’s generations-long history in farm labor, and how a class on reading poetry made him rethink prose writing on the sentence level. Originally from the Central Valley of California, Leo Ríos studied English at UCLA and received an MFA from Cornell University. His first published story was selected by ZZ Packer as winner of The Arkansas International’s Emerging Writer's Prize. His second published story appeared in The Georgia Review and was noted as a distinguished story in The Best American Short Stories 2022. Other publications include stories in The Rumpus, The Masters Review, and Joyland Magazine. A recent recipient of a MacDowell Fellowship, he currently lives in Tucson, Arizona, where he teaches writing at the University of Arizona. ­­Read Leo’s story “Lencho” in The Common here. The Common is a print and online literary magazine publishing stories, essays, and poems that deepen our collective sense of place. On our podcast and in our pages, The Common features established and emerging writers from around the world. Read more and subscribe to the magazine at thecommononline.org, and follow us on Twitter @CommonMag. Emily Everett is managing editor of the magazine and host of the podcast. Her debut novel is forthcoming from Putnam Books. Her stories appear in the Kenyon Review, Electric Literature, Tin House Online, and Mississippi Review. She was a 2022 Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellow in Fiction. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/literature
Samantha Harvey, "Orbital" (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2023)
Jan 26 2024
Samantha Harvey, "Orbital" (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2023)
A slender novel of epic power, Orbital (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2023) deftly snapshots one day in the lives of six women and men hurtling through space--not towards the moon or the vast unknown, but around our planet. Selected for one of the last space station missions of its kind before the program is dismantled, these astronauts and cosmonauts--from America, Russia, Italy, Britain, and Japan--have left their lives behind to travel at a speed of over seventeen thousand miles an hour as the earth reels below. We glimpse moments of their earthly lives through brief communications with family, their photos and talismans; we watch them whip up dehydrated meals, float in gravity-free sleep, and exercise in regimented routines to prevent atrophying muscles; we witness them form bonds that will stand between them and utter solitude. Most of all, we are with them as they behold and record their silent blue planet. Their experiences of sixteen sunrises and sunsets and the bright, blinking constellations of the galaxy are at once breathtakingly awesome and surprisingly intimate. So are the marks of civilization far below, encrusted on the planet on which we live. Profound, contemplative and gorgeous, Orbital is an eloquent meditation on space and a moving elegy to our humanity, environment, and planet. Samantha Harvey is the author of five novels, The Wilderness, All Is Song, Dear Thief, The Western Wind and Orbital. She is also the author of a memoir, The Shapeless Unease. Her novels have been shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction, the Guardian First Book Award, the Walter Scott Prize and the James Tait Black Prize, and longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, among many others. She lives in Bath, England, and teaches Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. Recommended Books: Jenny Erpenbeck, Kairos Allen Rossi, Our Last Year Miranda Pountney, How to Be Somebody Else  Chris Holmes is Chair of Literatures in English and Associate Professor at Ithaca College. He writes criticism on contemporary global literatures. His book, Kazuo Ishiguro as World Literature, is under contract with Bloomsbury Publishing. He is the co-director of The New Voices Festival, a celebration of work in poetry, prose, and playwriting by up-and-coming young writers. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/literature