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 […]

How Many Piercings Can a Docent Have?: Wondering About Church at the American Civil War Museum

How many piercings can a museum docent have? It was a question Christy Coleman didn’t know she’d have to struggle with when she became the CEO of the American Civil War Center in 2013. But when that museum merged with the Museum of the Confederacy and built a brand new facility around the old Tredegar […]

The Not-So-Calm Before the Storm: Jesmyn Ward’s Katrina Story

Katrina doesn’t arrive until Salvage the Bones is almost over, but the hurricane has always been coming. She broods over the whole of Jesmyn Ward’s epic 2011 novel, even when the only one who seems to know she’s on the way is Esch’s Daddy, whose preparations seem excessive to his four children living with him […]