Essays Archives - The Millions

August 16, 2017

Listen My Dear Alones: Notes on Gina Berriault’s ‘Women in Their Beds’ 0


Berriault must have known that good work, the best work, may not always pay the bills, but sometimes, if we’re lucky, it outlasts the counting.

August 14, 2017

I Don’t Love You, Toronto: On Books and Cities 6


When anyone asked me why I was in Toronto, I’d say, “Love,” and then muse over the love I didn’t feel for the city after all these years of living here.

August 11, 2017

Writing My Way Home 6


What Kansas City lacks in ocean views and crumbling old-world charm, it might make up for with a wide-open emptiness that practically begs to be filled. It’s all potential here.

August 10, 2017

You’re a Writer Now 34


I was starting to lose hope. I was drinking too much wine as a way to temper the barrage of rejections cluttering my inbox, and as a result, I’d wake every morning at two or three or four and lie there, hungover and heart pounding, despairing that no one would ever love what I’d made.

August 9, 2017

Life, Literature, and Litigation 5


The email came almost immediately and it was spikey with threats. She recognized herself, and so had a friend of hers. And she said she could prove it. She had, she said, already spoken to a lawyer, and she was going to sue for defamation and invasion of privacy.

August 8, 2017

The Grueling, Painful, Beautiful Fiction of László Krasznahorkai 2


To misread Krasznahorkai as merely, or primarily, a political writer is to risk squandering the profoundly personal nature of his stories. More tragically, it is to foist a kind of sloppy activist, and determinately secular métier onto one of contemporary literature’s most sophisticated exponents of the sacred.

August 7, 2017

The Soft Colonization of Small Territories 0


There is something calming about crafting a sense of comfort in a place outside of my control.

August 3, 2017

In Search of Lost Words: Novels on Dementia 1


Grief is not something to be avoided.

August 3, 2017

Sexy Backs and Headless Women: A Book Cover Manifesto 13


The messaging is clear. These covers are code for “women’s fiction”—i.e. breezy, easy, accessible. For many women authors who don’t happen to write breezy fiction, we feel caught in a double bind, with a cover that demeans the book in the eyes of the literary establishment while also promising readers a kind of book we didn’t necessarily write.

August 2, 2017

Why We Read and Why We Write 4


What we gain by reading is what we often strive for in life when we’re actually thinking about what we want.