Two Novels, Fat and Thin: Keith Gessen’s A Terrible Country and Ryan Chapman’s Riots I Have Known

Two Novels, Fat and Thin: Keith Gessen’s A Terrible Country and Ryan Chapman’s Riots I Have Known

by J.T. Price

To further the comparison between the two texts, certain thematic valences notwithstanding, Chapman’s debut is an all but negative image of Gessen’s sophomore effort—disjunctive where Gessen’s narrative is straight ahead; knowing and bawdy and essentially unconcerned with portraying human relationships at any great length, while that effort forms the pith of A Terrible Country; over-brimming with uprooted wit whereas Andryush walks, block by block, to discover where he might truly belong.

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"Sterling Place" by Aarti Monteiro

"Sterling Place" by Aarti Monteiro

by Aarti Monteiro

They met the year Rani started taking photographs. She had just bought a used digital camera, and took every chance she had to walk around Brooklyn with it. She was coming home from one of these walks when she noticed an older woman outside her building on Sterling Place digging through a purse. The woman wore a maroon coat and stood next to a full cart of groceries, plastic bags bulging from the grates. Her white hair stuck out underneath a lopsided hat. Rani jerked open the front door and held it for her neighbor.

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