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Tag: friendship

Erik Hall: A Remembrance

Most people, if they are lucky, grow up with one family. I had two. The first was my traditional, biological family. My parents were both black sheep––one estranged for religious reasons and the other for sociopolitical ones––so these relationships were complex and fraught. Growing up, I spent comparatively little time with my “real” relatives, and [...]

Review: Ilona Andrews’s “Blood Heir”

Ilona Andrews’s Blood Heir is a continuation/spin-off of the marvelous Kate Daniels series. These novels take place in a fantastical version of mid-21st-century Atlanta where a metaphysical “Shift” has brought magic back into the world after centuries of dormancy. This book picks up eight years after Kate’s tale comes to a close, with a new protagonist: Julie [...]

Review: Toni Morrison’s “Sula”

Sula is the first Toni Morrison novel I’ve read, but I’m certain it won’t be the last. This captivating tale of two Black girls growing up in Bottom––a hilly, early-20th-century Ohio town––left me with no questions whatsoever about why Morrison is a core member of the American literary canon. Though her characters and story are plenty [...]

Review: Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman’s “Big Friendship”

Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman’s Big Friendship is a little book with a lot of heart. Having written an essay on the nature of friendship last year, this is a topic about which I am very passionate. Sow and Friedman’s take on the subject is energetic, and in its best moments manages to also be profound. I’ll [...]

Review: Elena Ferrante’s “The Story of the Lost Child”

There can be no doubt that Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels comprise one of the great literary masterpieces of the early 21st century. Even so, the end of this series left me numb, enervated to the point of apathy. It’s hard to tell if my reaction is the aberrant result of a desolate narrative’s collision with the very [...]

Notes From a Pandemic: April 25th, 2020

Greetings, dear friends of the present and curious citizens of the future. The COVID-19 pandemic has provided a good opportunity for humanity to collectively interrogate an idea that we probably ought to scrutinize more often. This is the concept of “normality”––the notion that there exists some stable state of affairs we can use as a [...]

Review: William Rawlins’s “Friendship Matters”

Late last year, I spent several months writing a series of essays on the nature of friendship. I wish I had read William Rawlins’s Friendship Matters before undertaking that process, but unfortunately I only discovered it after completing the essays. This dry but extremely thorough examination of friendship is an essential text for anyone who cares about [...]

Review: Kristin Hannah’s “The Nightingale”

“If I have learned anything in this long life of mine, it is this: In love we find out who we want to be; in war we find out who we are.” (1) So begins Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale, which gripped me from the opening sentence and didn’t let go until I tore through the final pages. [...]

Review: Claire North’s “The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August”

Claire North’s The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August is the fantastical tale of a man with a peculiar affliction––or a gift, depending on your point of view. Harry August is born a British citizen in 1919, lives an undistinguished life as a groundskeeper, and dies seventy years later. But instead of entering an afterlife or [...]

Review: Amor Towles’s “A Gentleman in Moscow”

What does a society desperate to escape monarchic domination do with a plucky, refined member of its extant aristocracy? In Amor Towles’s enchanting portrait of post-revolutionary Russia, the answer is to place him under permanent house arrest in The Metropol, Moscow’s most renowned hotel. He will be stripped of his titles, his luxurious lodgings, and [...]