Articles by Sonya Chung

July 20, 2016

The Millions Quiz: The Best Political Fiction 4

For Gordimer, a political writer was one who ruthlessly rendered social breakdown, but who also crafted characters that embodied the possibility of political upheaval and societal renewal; indeed the writer of the truly political novel must himself be driven by this possibility.

April 28, 2016

Fiction Is a Trudge, Poetry Is a Dance: On Poet Novelists 1

The murky area between genres has always been the place where I feel most at home.

February 3, 2016

The Big Book I Was Waiting For: Alexander Chee’s ‘Queen of the Night’ 0

You feel, as you read, that you are being swept away by this delicious plot and voice, and that the novel wants to be read slowly — is actually smarter and deeper and more intricately constructed than can be appreciated at its decidedly propulsive pace.

August 13, 2015

We Know Less Than We Think We Do: Why David Brooks Is Not a Pariah But a Harbinger of Hope 23

I am surprised to find myself rooting for — eagerly awaiting — something that many would consider highly improbable: a retraction and an apology by New York Times conservative columnist David Brooks for his July 17 opinion piece, “Listening to Ta-Nehisi Coates While White.”

June 24, 2015

Small Victories, Large Discoveries: On Fishes, Ponds, and Finding Open Spaces 1

That not all good or great art is recognized is easy to forget. We can too readily entrust tastemakers of the day — the Academie of 1874 France, A-list publishing houses and magazines, even the Twitter kings and queens — to point us to ideas, works, and forms that are worthwhile.

May 28, 2015

Mourning, Meaning, and Moving On: Life After ‘Mad Men’ 4

We know that we became absorbed, that we experienced great pleasure in watching, and that we couldn’t wait for each new season to begin. We know, or feel at least, that we have participated in something significant, a cultural moment. But what I want to know now, or try to know, is this: Is it art?

May 11, 2015

A Happy Sort of Pessimism: The Millions Interviews James Hannaham 0

I don’t think of my true black gay freakiness as subversive, any more than the true white straight Republican freakazoids out in the heartland think of themselves as subversive, even as they’re plotting to replace the government with a bunch of gender normative marionettes and privatize motherhood.

April 6, 2015

Sneak Peek at Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Sympathizer 0

Over at Bloom today, a sneak look at an excerpt from Viet Thanh Nguyen‘s The Sympathizer, featured this week on the cover of the NY Times Sunday Book Review and out April 7. Writes Philip Caputo, Nguyen “brings a distinct perspective” to the Vietnam War that “reaches beyond its historical context to illuminate more universal themes.”

January 15, 2015

Agnes Martin’s Perfection: Now and Not Yet 4

Who was this reclusive Agnes Martin, and from where do these so-called “inspired” paintings come from? Who is the person generating these canvasses of quiet beauty? The average person finds comfort in narrative; in comprehensible cause and effect.

October 16, 2014

Ruthless, Beautiful, Dangerous, Comforting: How It Is in the World of Tove Jansson   1

Literarily, I am about 11 years old — falling in love over and again with that secret understanding, the deep solace that odd, lonely children typically find in books about odd, lonely children. This is my best explanation for why the adult stories and novels of Tove Jansson have captivated me so fully.