Big Loves: Jeneva Burroughs Stone on Sir Thomas Browne

Let’s face it: No one wakes up one day with the epiphany, “I must read Religio Medici!” Sir Thomas Browne’s works are funky, antiquated gems, somewhat obscure even for those who study 16th and 17th century English Renaissance Literature, as I did at Columbia University from 1987 – 1994. Browne clings like a barnacle to…

Big Loves: Michael Copperman on Willa Cather’s Five Stories

Willa Cather’s Five Stories, is a short, strange, beautiful collection of her short fiction that spans the course of her literary career. The first story in the collection, “The Enchanted Bluff,” is written in first person. It uses retrospection powerfully and overtly; the story concerns a river and a group of boys who grow up…

Big Loves: Chad Parmenter on Lucie Brock-Broido’s The Master Letters

The first time I came across Lucie Brock-Broido’s The Master Letters was in Ed Brunner’s wonderful class, at SIU-Carbondale, on the book-length poetry project. When I opened it up, I noticed that he was thanked personally on the back page, and I probably started to read it based on a “hey, I know that guy”…

Big Loves: Paula Whyman on T.C. Boyle’s “Greasy Lake”

  Today’s contributor to our Big Loves column is Paula Whyman. Whyman’s debut collection of linked short stories, You May See a Stranger, is out this month from TriQuarterly Books/Northwestern University Press. In the book, she follows Miranda Weber from her teens through her late 40s as she struggles with sexuality, marriage, politics, and the…

Big Loves: Katie Chase on Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum’s Madeleine Is Sleeping

Today’s contributor to our Big Loves column is Katie Chase. Her debut short story collection, Man and Wife, is out this week from A Strange Object. In these funny and subversive stories, marriages are arranged over tea, blood feuds simmer beneath football games, and cities burn while their characters struggle between holding on to their families and seeking…

Big Loves: Howard Axelrod on Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels

Today’s contributor to our Big Loves column is Howard Axelrod. Axelrod’s memoir The Point of Vanishing was recently published by Beacon Press. The memoir traces Axelrod’s movements, internal and external, and his sense of self and place in the world, after he loses vision in one eye. The book is a luminous reflection on solitude,…

Big Love: Chaitali Sen on Peter Høeg’s Smilla’s Sense of Snow

Today’s contributor to our Big Loves column is Chaitali Sen. Sen is the author of the novel, The Pathless Sky, which was published by Europa Editions this month. The novel tells the story of one couple’s quest to sustain their marriage when political violence strikes their unnamed homeland. Kirkus calls her book a “poignant and sophisticated work couched in…

Big Loves: Zach Falcon on William Gaddis’s JR

Today’s contributor to our Big Loves column is Zach Falcon. Falcon’s debut short story collection,  Cabin, Clearing, Forest, was recently published by University of Alaska Press. In sharp and lyrical writing, Falcon’s collection explores the interior lives and domestic relations of people shaped by Alaska, in all its isolation, beauty, and brutality. Here, Falcon shares his…

Big Loves: Antonio Ruiz-Camacho on José Emilio Pacheco’s Battles in the Desert

Today’s contributor to our Big Loves column is Antonio Ruiz-Camacho. Ruiz-Camacho’s collection of short stories Barefoot Dogs was recently published by Scribner. The linked stories, using exuberant and imaginative language, explore the fallout of a patriarch’s abduction in Mexico City, illuminated through the exile and displacement of his family. Here, Ruiz-Camacho shares his love for…