“Not Hearing the Wood Thrush” by Margaret Gibson
Not Hearing the Wood Thrush attempts to account for everything we cannot see beyond our brief lives. It doesn’t answer each question it asks, nor should it, but instead sends those questions like radio waves into spaces made familiar by memory, then made mystical and strange through the loss that lives there.
Eyes Like Cursors Blinking: On “Conversations with Friends” and “Normal People” by Sally Rooney
What marks the writing as particularly unusual, though, is Rooney’s approach to characterization: one receives the impression that Rooney has a programmatic disinterest in depicting her characters’ inner lives. Or rather—and this, perhaps, is what makes her style feel so distinct—Rooney seems allergic to the leveling that’s entailed in consigning an emotional life to language.
“Death to the Bullshit Artists of South Texas” by Fernando A. Flores
Flores is constantly asking himself: What is real art? Is it the band that jams with feel, the boy who builds confidence, the woman who bleeds on stage, or the avant-garde experimenter? Is it accessible or inaccessible? The answer, Flores seems to argue, depends on whether the creator feels it in his soul.