Love, Life, and Salvation in As I Lay Dying

Perhaps someday I’ll get around to re-reading William Faulkner, which numerous guides suggest one do in order to get the full flavor of his writing. In the meantime, I’ll step back and gawk, wondering why I’m persisting in this recent quest to get to the heart of Yoknapatawpha County, Faulkner’s mythical Mississippi landscape. I mean, […]

Of Mice and Migration: The Luminous World of Yaa Gyasi’s Transcendent Kingdom

This review originally appeared on The Englewood Review of Books and is republished with permission. The experiments that Gifty, a Stanford PhD candidate, conducts have the illusion of being about control. A pioneer in the field of optogenetics, the young Ghanaian-American researcher is using illuminated neural pathways to understand the brains of mice—particularly brains with […]

Leaving Nebraska: Revisiting Willa Cather in the Pandemic

Willa Cather can make you believe that Nebraska is a little more idyllic than your particular piece of America. Prairie flowers bloom near fields of waving wheat. Sturdy immigrant farmers build sturdy farmhouses and some residents install hammocks on the upper porch to sleep out under the stars on summer evenings. Even the fierce winter […]

Saying Their Names: Jesmyn Ward’s Mississippi Memoir

Jesmyn Ward’s memoir, Men We Reaped, derives its title from an arresting Harriet Tubman quote that appears in the book as an epigraph: It’s an interesting frame for the story of a young African-American woman’s life, especially one who has been as successful as Ward. With Salvage the Bones and Sing, Unburied, Sing, Ward has […]