Review: Beautiful World, Where Are You? by Sally Rooney

by Wynter K Miller

It is a truth universally acknowledged that every generation must be in need of a generational novelist — at least, that’s the assumption millennial author and critic Tony Tulathimutte opened his New York Times essay with in 2016. Where, Tulathimutte asked, are the Hemingways, Salingers, Kerouacs, and Foster Wallaces of the pumpkin spice latte set?**

Six months later, Sally Rooney’s Conversations with Friends was published, giving my friends and I what we had, apparently, desperately needed: A Voice of Our Generation. Since then, Rooney has been hailed…


Review: Severance by Ling Ma

by Wynter K Miller

Apocalypse stories have such a rich history in fiction that any writer considering penning the end of the world ought to pause and ask themselves: Do I really have anything new to say here? Ling Ma did not pause.

Candace Chen is a millennial woman without family living arguably discontentedly in New York City when the apocalypse unfolds. “Arguably” because Candace is not unhappy so much as she is not happy — a circumstance that might be described as germane to the millennial condition. She is not really an artist (nor…


Review: Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner

by Wynter K Miller

I tend to appreciate reviews that include, in some form, a comparative recommendation — an opportunity to quickly determine if a book belongs on my TBR shelf. “Perfect for readers looking for Erik Larson-style true crime that reads like fiction.” “If you liked Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, you’ll love this.” “It’s In Cold Blood, but set in the Old South.” (Incidentally, publishers know readers appreciate this, and thus consider comp titles a key component of book pitches.)

I intended to open this review of…


Review: Seven Days in June by Tia Williams

by Wynter K Miller

I don’t read romance. I have nothing against the genre — honest! — it just isn’t my natural preference zone. That said, what I’ve read I’ve largely liked. Susan Carroll has a fantastic fantasy/historical fiction/romance saga that I devoured in high school. And though Sophie Kinsella isn’t technically “romance,” she’s certainly rom com, and I count her amongst my favorite authors. The same is true for Rainbow Rowell, who writes a meet-cute like no one else. …


Review: Justine by Forsyth Harmon

by Wynter K Miller

Forsyth Harmon’s authorial debut is not her first publication — and it shows; her storytelling prowess, honed in previous collaborations with well-known names like Leslie Jamison and Melissa Febos, is on full display in Justine.

Justine is young, edgy, and confident. She has a dazzling smile, effortless cool. She knows Vogue is better than Seventeen, knows how to pluck her eyebrows, knows how to vomit to counteract indulgences from the candy rack. She’s four inches taller than Alison, whose perspective the reader occupies, and weighs 12 pounds less. She’s thin and…


Review: The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

by Wynter K Miller

In the fall of 2011, I was living in Washington, D.C. and I was miserable — too miserable to do much of the thing that usually palliated my misery. I couldn’t read. My father had died the previous year, a fact that even now, two decades later, I continually have to fact-check. The obituary confirms a year passed between what happened to him and what was happening to me, but in my memory, my father had just died and nothing I did could fix it. I couldn’t read…


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…

Wynter K Miller

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

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