Review: Animal by Lisa Taddeo

by Wynter K Miller

Lisa Taddeo has made a name for herself as a chronicler of female desire. Her first book, Three Women, was a work of narrative journalism that generated more praise than rancor — an achievement given that it was touted as “the consummate book about female desire in the United States,” a marketing tactic that made even Taddeo nervous. (In a podcast interview with The Sewanee Review, Taddeo admits that expectations were outsized: “I knew that it was going to make people angry,” she said.) …

Review: Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

by Wynter K Miller

Lauren Groff is the author of one of my favorite short story collections of all time. I was absolutely blown away by Florida, which I read first, before any of Groff’s novels. After Florida, I read The Monsters of Templeton, which was very much a debut novel, replete with the missteps one associates with a first attempt. Some authors are stronger as short story writers than novelists; the two forms are decidedly different, and mastery of one is far from a guarantee of mastery of the other. That said…

Review: The Monster of Templeton by Lauren Groff

by Wynter K Miller

Lauren Groff’s first novel is the kind of book that I found compelling enough to finish, but suspect will not be compelling enough to remember. It’s the kind of book that reminds you that writing is a craft and that gifts like those on display in Florida are honed (in Groff’s case, over the span of a decade).

The premise upon which The Monsters of Templeton is built is an attention-grabber. The first sentence sums is up rather nicely: “The day I returned to Templeton steeped in disgrace…

Review: The Secret Talker by Geling Yan

by Wynter K Miller

According to Geling Yan’s editor, The Secret Talker is “domestic suspense meets literary fiction.” The protagonist, Hongmei, is a Chinese woman living in California with her American husband, Glen. From the outside, she leads a charmed American life. She is middle class, highly educated, and far away from the humble village she wanted to leave behind. But on the inside, Hongmei is discontent — not miserable, necessarily, just listless. She has grown bored with her husband, her marriage has become shallow and unsatisfying, her motivation to finish her PhD…

Review: You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine by Alexandra Kleeman

by Wynter K Miller

As someone perpetually behind the latest trend, often by several years, it’s no surprise that I’m finding You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine six years after its release. And I didn’t go into it with reasonable expectations, either. I’ve recently discovered — again, years late — a very good and wonderfully nerdy book podcast that is rapidly flooding my TBR shelf with books published roughly between 2014 and 2016. In its archives, somewhere around mid-2015, the podcasters start, and do not stop…

Review: I Would Leave Me If I Could. by Halsey

by Wynter K Miller

My reviews are rarely more than subjective pieces of documentation, intended to say, if nothing else: I consumed X and it made me feel Y because Z. With prose, I have a toolbox, assembled from years of encounters and semesters of coursework, that allows me to say X, Y, and Z with something like confidence. At least, I have confidence in my taste. I know what I like and what I don’t and I am comfortable articulating why. With poetry, I have no toolbox. My encounters…

Review: The Push by Audrey Audrain

by Wynter K Miller

There is little I can imagine that is more terrifying than pregnancy. I respect (of course) the opinions of the countless women who consider the process of reproduction “beautiful,” but for me personally, I’ve never been able to wrap my head around the idea of my body as a shared space. There isn’t enough room in here for me, let alone someone else. …

Review: The Magician King by Lev Grossman

by Wynter K Miller

Historically, I’ve not been the type of reader who rereads, a fact that is wholly at odds with my personality. In every other respect, I worship habit and repetition. I eat the same thing for breakfast every single day and have zero desire to deviate — no, thanks, please take your pancakes elsewhere, I want my favorite cereal and I feel uncomfortable with your attempt to expand my horizons. …

Review: There’s No Such Thing as an Easy Job by Kikuko Tsumura

by Wynter K Miller

In American literature over the last decade, the unpleasant female protagonist is having something of a moment. These women are not the principled and heroic figures of classic literature. They’re smart — to be sure, they’re every bit as educated as Lizzie Bennett and Jo March, but they’re not interested in using their talents for good. They’re interested, largely, in themselves and, because I am an American reader, my thoughts when encountering these females usually fall along the lines of: Well, who can blame…

Wynter K Miller

Wynter K Miller is an editor and writer in California. @wynterkm

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