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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What Is and What Will Ever Be

What Is and What Will Ever Be

by Zack Graham

What is a ghost? Is it an apparition that appears at night to frighten us? Is it a spirit at unrest, refusing to pass on to the next life until it settles a score with our world? Are ghosts corporeal or bodiless? Real or imagined? Alive or dead? Nell Freudenberger tackles these questions in her third novel Lost and Wanted, which centers around Helen Clapp, a brilliant physicist and single mother coping with the sudden death of Charlie, a black Hollywood screenwriter and Helen’s best friend from college.

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