The Millions5 min read
A Foreigner in One’s Own Country: On Akil Kumarasamy’s ‘Half Gods’
In her debut short story collection, Half Gods, Akil Kumarasamy takes readers into the lives of a multigenerational Sri Lankan Tamil family, tracing their history from the plantations of what was then the British colony of Ceylon to the beaches of th
The Millions6 min read
50 Years Ago, Kingsley Amis Had a Midlife Crisis and Turned to James Bond for Help
Kingsley Amis is best remembered today as the author of comic novels—perhaps even the pre-eminent writer in that genre during the second half of the 20th century. But you would hardly guess it if you looked just at his output from the late 1960s to t
The Millions8 min read
The Stories That Change Us Forever: The Millions Interviews Julie Buntin
For readers who haven’t already discovered Julie Buntin’s Marlena, this visceral, gripping novel combines humanity with a thrilling edge. We watch as Marlena descends into addiction, but rather than being allowed to simply be voyeurs, we’re forced to
The Millions7 min read
A Day In The Life Of An Indie Publisher: Akashic Books
At 4:45 a.m., Ibrahim Ahmad’s alarm clock began pouring out the first bars of Leonard Cohen’s “Lullaby”—“Sleep, baby, sleep. The day’s on the run. The wind in the trees is talking in tongues…” With this bit of counterintuitive programming, another lo
The Millions8 min read
Preoccupations with Witchiness: A Review of ‘Dead Girls’ and Interview with Author Alice Bolin
Good fiction typically provides few good answers but many good questions. The great novels and stories can often be, however incompletely, expressed as a single, overarching question that the author is working out via narrative. Is the American dream
The Millions36 min read
Most Anticipated: The Great Second-Half 2018 Book Preview
Putting together our semi-annual Previews is a blessing and a curse. A blessing to be able to look six months into the future and see the avalanche of vital creative work coming our way; a curse because no one list can hope to be comprehensive, and n
The Millions2 min read
Counting Down to the Second-Half Preview
The answer to the question you want answered, plus how Millions readers are ensuring we'll have Previews for years to come. The post Counting Down to the Second-Half Preview appeared first on The Millions.
The Millions10 min read
Not Half Bad: Remembering My Friendship with John Goulet
1. He walked into the room, leaning hard on a cane, and hung his leather jacket on the back of his chair. He was big at the middle; buttons on his sweater vest hung tough across his belly, and he wore a T-shirt under his vest, which I thought was fun
The Millions3 min read
From the Backlist: Meg Wolitzer Chronicles Women, Family, and Ambition
With the publication of her 11th novel, Meg Wolitzer is poised to garner a level of critical attention most novelists only dream of. It feels like a long time coming, too (“Finally,” reads the parenthetical headline of her New York Times author profi
The Millions3 min read
Unseasonal Reading: Enjoying Books as They Come
If there’s one thing I have learned about summer reading, it’s that it should have no boundaries. Everything can be a beach read: Leo Tolstoy, John Grisham, Roland Barthes, Karl Ove Knausgaard, even massive presidential biographies if you are a grand
The Millions6 min read
A Mad Woman on Fire: On Sylvia Plath and Female Rage
“You do not do, you do not do / Any more, black shoe…” The poet’s voice is strong, piercing. Her tone arch, sly. A few lines later, as she proclaims, “Daddy, I have had to kill you,” she sounds like she’s about to burble into a mean, delicious laugh.
The Millions5 min read
Dispatches from C Wing: On Ahmed Bouanani’s ‘The Hospital’
Once, I had to go to the hospital. There was no reason to be afraid. The procedure was, at least for the doctors, routine. The chance of death was slim to none. Driving on the highway, for instance, just to arrive at the medical complex, had incurred
The Millions4 min read
Playing With Guns: Parenting In The Age Of The Active Shooter
The first time I hold a gun I am 3 years old. We are visiting my father’s business partner. My dad is getting into strawberries, which means he’s getting into the drugs he can hide in the strawberry truck. In the living room, I slip my chubby 3-year-
The Millions3 min read
The Millions Top Ten: June 2018
We spend plenty of time here on The Millions telling all of you what we’ve been reading, but we are also quite interested in hearing about what you’ve been reading. By looking at our Amazon stats, we can see what books Millions readers have been buyi
The Millions7 min read
On Semicolons And The Rules Of Writing
1. Kurt Vonnegut’s caution against the use of semicolons is one of the most famous and canonical pieces of writing advice, an admonition that has become, so to speak, one of The Rules. More on these rules later, but first the infamous quote in questi
The Millions9 min read
After the Welfare State: Kathy Acker and the American Health Care System
Chris Kraus’s After Kathy Acker gives readers a long-awaited account of the experimental writer as a living, breathing, fucking, and frequently, sick human being. Masterful in detail, drawing on deep archival sources and interviews, Kraus’s account g
The Millions5 min read
Be Your Best Self: On Sayaka Murata’s ‘Convenience Store Woman’
“It’s so essential that we take charge of our own reinvention and ensure our personal brands reflect, to the outside world, the reality of our lives.” —Dorie Clark, Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future The idea of the personal bran
The Millions9 min readPsychology
The Mind Is an Impediment: The Millions Interviews Anelise Chen
Anelise Chen and I first met at a bar in New Haven, Connecticut, where we’d each worked. “You were getting marrow ‘to go,’” she wrote, “which I thought was the craziest thing.” Chen’s careful observation of the absurd ripples throughout h
The Millions5 min read
Shining and Whole: In Remembrance of Donald Hall
Wandering the aisles made of beige steel and unrememberable carpet that was the poetry section of my local suburban library, I waited for poetry to come to me. What arrived was The Painted Bed, a collection by Donald Hall. I could’ve opened it to any
The Millions6 min read
Must-Read Poetry: July 2018
Here are six notable books of poetry publishing in July. A Memory of the Future by Elizabeth Spires A book worthy of pondering—“how to find myself / when a self is so small”—Spires offers so many questions and considerations, yet they all return to o
The Millions13 min read
The Problem with Patriotism: A Critical Look at Collective Identity in the U.S. and Germany
1. In 1984, George Orwell’s year of looming dystopia, I received an academic scholarship to study fine arts and moved to Germany, a country that had embodied modern dystopia to an unprecedented degree. The scholarship, awarded to students of the Unit
The Millions8 min read
Rich, Collective Life: Naima Coster on ‘Halsey Street,’ Gentrification, and Writing
After her aging father takes a life-threatening fall, Penelope Grand returns to her childhood hometown of Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, to keep a closer watch on him. She finds both her father and her neighborhood much changed. He’s become withdrawn and wistfu
The Millions4 min read
Baby Steps All the Way: Making the Time to Write a Book
Track practice. An hour and a half. A metal picnic table. Cold enough for hats and gloves, hot enough for shorts and flip-flops. Other parents talking about football and summer camps and the new high school. Tennis practice. Second-story bleachers. O
The Millions12 min read
What the Caged Bird Feels: A List of Writers in Support of Vegetarianism
Growing up as a vegetarian in rural England in the ’90s, I was sometimes under the impression that my lifestyle was unusual—if not radical. In recent years, vegetarianism (and reduced-meat diets) have become more mainstream even in rural areas. With
The Millions6 min read
I Make What I Want: The Millions Interviews Nell Painter
One of the questions at the heart of Old in Art School, the new memoir by Nell Painter, is what it takes to be “An Artist” and who gets to decide you’ve earned those capital A’s. In her 60s, Painter left a career as an eminent Princeton historian and
The Millions10 min read
Everything Worthwhile Is Very Far Away: An Excerpt from the New Introduction to ‘Poor White’
1. In 1919, after his first marriage had ended, his family had dissolved, and his career as a mail-order businessman had been tossed aside for artistic dreams, 42-year-old Sherwood Anderson published Winesburg, Ohio, his fourth book of an eventual 27
The Millions6 min read
On Anthony Bourdain in a Tearing World
1. I made the mistake of trying to write about Anthony Bourdain with old episodes of Parts Unknown playing in the background. His sudden jarring death demanded words and witness both, so the balance seemed simple enough, an earnest attempt at paying
The Millions3 min read
A Great Short Story Has a Pulse: Donald Barthelme’s ‘Game’
A few months before Donald Barthelme’s “Game” appeared in the July 31, 1965, issue of The New Yorker, a cloud moved over Los Angeles. The cloud originated in Jackass Flats, Nevada, born from a nuclear rocket test. The Atomic Energy Commission wanted
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