5 short stories

Published: Short Stories: Characters in Politics (PopMatters)

My September column is up at PopMatters. Stories by: Roxane Gay (JFK); Jeff VanderMeer (Jeb Bush); Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Melania Trump); George Saunders (Abraham Lincoln); Curtis Sittenfeld (Hillary Clinton.) These fictional works about the personal lives of American politicians' (and a spouse, in one case) are well-crafted and show us unusual but highly believable aspects of their personalities. Also, there's an introductory section about why political fiction (in books, on screen, on stage) matters.

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Published: On Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters on Loss: ‘The Dark Interval’ (PopMatters)

My latest book review is up at PopMatters. The Dark Interval is a collection of 23 letters written by Rilke to friends and acquaintances who were suffering from the losses of loved ones. There's no pithy condolence or mystical ideology here. These letters are filled with beautiful language and intense insights about how grief, death, and loss can actually make us whole and even transform us. If you've read his Letters to a Young Poet, you will be moved by this collection too. The excellent translation is by Ulrich Baer, a Rilke scholar at NYU. There's a bit more about the translation at the end of the review.

Published: A. M. Homes’ ‘Days of Awe’ and the Art of Writing Dialogue (PopMatters)

My review of A.M.Homes' latest short story collection, 'Days of Awe', is up at PopMatters. These stories have her trademark darkly satirical takes on American consumerism and more. Also, they are a masterclass in dialogue and in listening to both what is said and, more importantly, what isn't said.