Category Archives: American literature

Red Clocks: The book you need to read this year + I cry about babies. Again.

Leni Zumas’s Red Clocks is the book you need to read this year. Set in the near future, we find ourselves in an American where abortion laws have not only been repealed, but women are prosecuted as murderers for seeking abortions, in vitro is banned and adoption is limited to two parent families. The pink wall bars women from seeking help in Canada, as Canadian border officials, nervous of losing ground with the country’s biggest trading partner, mercilessly enforce the law by returning women to the States for prosecution. It is, in other words, an altogether too relevant read. Continue reading

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Filed under American literature, Book Club, Erin's Favourite Books, Fiction

Bel Canto: I may be tone deaf, but I know good writing.

The only thing I remember from first year English is a lecture that argued that all creative writing (whether poetry or prose) is about the urge by authors to create something which will outlast them. That every poem or story is, in the end, a valiant gesture toward immortality. And that readers should read with an eye to the way the author intentionally and accidentally imbues their work with this impulse; that is, that the discerning reader will always be able to find evidence of the author’s vanity, of their arrogance in thinking their work will endure. At the time I found the argument moving and persuasive. Since then I think back on it more as an example of excellent teaching, it was a well paced lecture with convincing examples and analysis. Which isn’t to say I now thinking writing isn’t about immortality, just that I haven’t had cause to declare an allegiance in the great What is Writing For debate of humanity.  Continue reading

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Filed under American literature, Fiction, Orange Prize

The Hate U Give: Super. No clickbait. Just super.

I like to walk around the big chain bookstore, with its carefully crafted display tables and candles and blankets, and not buy books (or anything). Instead I have my library app open and as I see a book that looks interesting I order it up. A few weeks or months later the book arrives at the library and I feel this smug satisfaction of *free books* and the delight of having forgotten I’d ordered it in the first place, so it’s like a double present. Continue reading

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Filed under American literature, Fiction, Young Adult Fiction

The Monk of Mokha: Dave Eggers v Trump.

I’m on the record adoring Dave Eggers. As well as being routinely disappointed by his fiction (see Heroes, Your Fathers, The Circle, & Hologram). So it turns out I just really love his non-fiction, or quasi-fiction. I wrote a graduate paper on What is the What (which I just horrified myself by reading. I was tempted to post parts of it here because it is so earnest and sincere, but there is a limit to my exhibitionist tendencies – I see your shocked faces and I’m moving on). And my first encounter with Eggers was in his much discussed memoir A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. Zeitoun was also great. Really the point of this first paragraph is to prove I’ve read a lot of his books. High five, me. Continue reading

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Filed under American literature, Fiction