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The moment my hands touched this book it began to whisper to me. It said I am the book you are looking. I am the book that you need. Right now. In this very moment. This very book. In your very hands. The cat on the cover nodded her head in agreement and gave a toothy feline yawn.

So, of course I had to buy it. It isn’t everyday that books whisper to me, though it happens more often than I probably ought to admit. And cats can be very persuasive.

The book and the cat were both right. This was exactly the book that I needed. I was reading Ariel Gore’s We Were Witches (new from Feminist Press’s Amethyst Editions) from before Halloween through the mid of November. My reading coincided with countless public revelations of harassment and assault by powerful men, with #metoo, with far too women having far too many awkward conversations with male friends and acquaintances and family members about what was going on and why and how. I don’t know that I’ve been able to give my male friends any of the answers they seem to have hoped, as their designated feminist, that I could. But I have been sorely tempted to hand them this book. …


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I’m not sure when I’ve been so moved by a novel as I was reading Nina LaCour’s We Are Okay. It’s a beautiful story, unflinching in its portrayals of grief and absolutely perfect in its prose. To say this is a book about growing up, about first love and first loss is to reduce its subtle sense of wonder and to overlook its nuanced melancholy. …


What struck me most immediately about Claire Fuller’s second novel was its keen sense of place. Swimming Lessons is set in Dorset on an island that can only be reached by ferry. The water haunts these characters like a physical manifestation of memory. The landscape, like the story itself, turns inviting, then forbidding, and is often both at once.

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The present of the novel is predominately carried by Flora, the daughter of Ingrid, a woman who vanished, and Gil, a once famous novelist. Ingrid was presumed drowned when Flora and her sister Nan were children, but Flora, like her father, is determined to preserve her sense of uncertainty, to exist in the space of not knowing. …


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Working with high school students this year, I’ve been thinking a lot about the books we keep out of our K-12 classrooms (both intentionally and unintentionally) and queer books are pretty consistently missing. This isn’t new. They were missing when I was in high school. They were missing when my parents and grandparents and great grandparents were in high school too. …

About

Miranda Schmidt

Writer. Read work @TriQuarterlyMag, @ElectricLit, @TheCollagist, @Orion_Magazine, and on mirandaschmidt.com | @mirandarschmidt

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