Browsing Category Interviews/Reviews

Personal and Politically Poignant: A Review of CutBank 88

CutBank, the University of Montana’s biannual literary journal, features fiction, poetry, and literary nonfiction by both established and emerging authors. The journal’s most recent edition, CutBank 88, exhibits a distinct Americanness in terms of place and identity. Like the characters in Courtney Graggett’s mythic story “Dry Border,” a father and son who are Mexican immigrants in southwest Texas, the readers of CutBank 88 also traverse the physical challenges and emotional complexities…

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Review of So Far So Good: Ursula K. Le Guin’s Lasting Meditative Landscape

After her death at the age of 88 earlier this year, Ursula K. Le Guin unleashed a wake of spirituality, meditation, reflection, and journey upon her readers with the release of her posthumous collection of poems So Far So Good (Copper Canyon Press, 2018). The poems lead the reader on a solitary journey by way of boat, through sunrises, sunsets, and vast hills. Though the…

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How to Sleep: On Ottessa Moshfegh’s My Year of Rest and Relaxation

Before opening Ottessa Moshfegh’s new novel My Year of Rest and Relaxation (Penguin Press, 2018), you might get caught up observing the portrait on the cover. Like many neoclassical paintings of women, Jacques-Louis David’s Portrait of a Young Woman in White is of a porcelain skinned beauty, rosy cheeked and cherry lipped, in a revealing negligee. She sits on a chair, probably in a bedroom, staring off…

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Small Digital Fictions: A Review of Shorts (Platypus Press)

Shorts are mini digital fictional stories that exist in the space between short story and novella. They’re published through England-based Platypus Press and include emerging and established authors such as Leesa Cross-Smith and Nur Nasreen Ibrahim, as well as past Portland Review-contributor Kristen Arnett. Each of the shorts described below live in the realm of relationships, and more specifically, in the universal truth of marriage and family and…

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A Queered Bildungsroman: A Review of Who Is Vera Kelly? by Rosalie Knecht

Rosalie Knecht’s newest novel Who Is Vera Kelly? (Tin House Books, 2018) aims to answer the difficult question posed in its title. In large part, it’s a coming-of-age story about a girl growing up in the sixties. But unlike the classic bildungsroman, this noveldefies the reader’s expectations and blurs the lines of genre. It is at once a period piece set partially in South America during…

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