The Dying Animal

By Philip Roth, published 2001 I finished reading this book a few weeks ago, but I have had trouble formulating an opinion that isn’t tainted by my visceral dislike for the narrator. David Kapesh (a character from an earlier Roth novel) is evidently an attractive middle-aged man who left his wife and child in theContinue reading “The Dying Animal”

Revolutionary Road

By Richard Yates, published 1961 This is a novel many people know, if only for the broad strokes. Due to my area of research (and interest), I am going to consider it in terms of April’s desire to not have children and the supposed implications of her own childhood. April is a mother of twoContinue reading “Revolutionary Road”

The Farm

By Joanne Ramos, published 2019 The Farm is a place where surrogates for the super-rich live for nine months, kept safe and healthy — and under constant surveillance — until they deliver babies. They must adhere to an exercise regimen, play music for their bellies, and stick to a strict healthy diet. Jane, a singleContinue reading “The Farm”

Free Woman

By Lara Feigel, published 2018. Philippe Petit said “I found out that total creativity involves a certain intellectual rebellion…not to become a criminal, but…you have to do things that are a little bit forbidden. You have to feel free.” It seems that “doing things that are a little bit forbidden” is an important path toContinue reading “Free Woman”

Five Years (a personal essay)

Five years ago today, I arrived in London on a one-year student visa but with no intention of ever leaving. I first visited England in 2003. As an undergrad at Wilkes University, I worked in the English department. I made copies and sorted mail. One day the department received a poster for a study abroadContinue reading “Five Years (a personal essay)”

Little Fires Everywhere

By Celeste Ng, published 2017. *contains spoilers* “Would you have been ready to be a good mother?” This is the central question of this novel, but it comes in the final 100 pages of the book. Prior to that, Celeste Ng welcomes us into Shaker Heights, a perfect community where residents don’t “see” race andContinue reading “Little Fires Everywhere”

The Push

It’s not often one of my usual “motherhood” novel picks are page-turners. I am fascinated by books about the realities of motherhood, particularly when they are contrasted with novels of the mid-20th century (and still today) that paint only rosy pictures of pregnancy, childbirth, and childrearing. It’s a good thing, since it is essentially myContinue reading “The Push”

Starling Days

By Rowan Hisayo BuchananShortlisted for the 2019 Costa Novel AwardPublished 2019 Image by Emel Yasar Photography. This is Rowan Hisayo Buchanan’s second novel, and when I saw it advertised I thought it sounded excellent. Mina and Oscar are newlyweds, but have been together for about ten years, since college. They live in New York, andContinue reading “Starling Days”