Q&A with Gabriela Garcia: ‘Of Women and Salt’ and the Cost of Survival

by Kyubin Kim

Of Women and Salt (224 pages; Flatiron Books), the first novel by Gabriela Garcia, follows four generations of women, from 19th century Cuba to present-day Miami. While the book primarily concerns Cuban American Jeanette’s journey to recover her matrilineal family history, Garcia weaves in the characters’ personal testimonies with a delicate understanding of how women’s lives are preserved incompletely, lost in migration, or erased. Training her eye on the Cuban diaspora and humanizing the nascent debates about U.S. immigration, Garcia meditates on the strength of women and frames motherhood as not mere sacrifice for the future generations, but affirming the […]

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Anyone Can Do It

by Manuel Muñoz

ZYZZYVA Volume 34, #2, Fall 2018

Her immediate concern was money. It was a Friday when the men didn’t come home from the fields and, true, sometimes the men wouldn’t return until late, the headlights of the neighborhood work truck turning the corner, the men drunk and laughing from the bed of the pickup. And, true, other women might have thought first about the green immigration vans prowling the fields and the orchards all around the valley, ready to take away the men they might not see again for days if good luck held, or even longer if they found no luck at all. When the

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‘The World to Come’ by David Keplinger: The Beautiful in the Broken

by Ray Levy Uyeda

As if we have all understood and accepted that everything in the world has resonance, that our lives have begun many times over, and that the land and its creatures tell stories, David Keplinger’s newest poetry collection pinpoints what follows that understanding and acceptance. In The World to Come (106 pages; Conduit Books & Ephemera), Keplinger’s prose poetry plays with the liminal space between knowing and not knowing,investigating the universal, that which applies to us all, alongside the universal, or the literal universe and its planets. Winner of the Minds on Fire Open Book Prize, The World to Come is […]

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Q&A with Joshua Mohr: ‘Model Citizen’ and Pointing Out the Frictions

by Kyubin Kim

Model Citizen (336 pages; Farrar, Straus and Giroux) is Joshua Mohr’s memoir on addiction, sobriety, and fatherhood. It’s a brutally sincere addition to his repertoire that includes the previous memoir Sirens and five novels. Told in a series of non-chronological vignettes, Model Citizens begins with Mohr’s jagged path to recovery in episodes of self-destruction and regret. We’re pulled so viscerally into San Francisco bars where one drink turns into a blacked-out night that we feel like the gears in Mohr’s brain, trying to make sense of how we got here. We also experience the anguish of recovery and relapse, drawn […]

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Shop Talk: Kate Reed Petty

by ZYZZYVA

Kate Reed Petty

Kate Reed Petty’s story “Mr. Pink,” about a disgraced screenwriter’s attempt to manage the online response to his public scandal, is featured in Issue 120. With its focus on social media platforms like Twitter and the way we use film to help interpret our experiences, “Mr. Pink” was perfectly suited for inclusion in The Technology Issue.

Kate Reed Petty’s first novel, True Story, was published by Viking in 2020. Her fiction has appeared in Electric Literature, American Short Fiction, and elsewhere. She spoke to Editorial Assistant Zack Ravas about “Mr. Pink” and the themes prevalent in her work.

Subscribers only: to access this content, you must be a member of ZYZZYVA Studio. Membership is included with any subscription. Subscribe today, or if you are already a subscriber, log in to continue reading. (Read our FAQ for more details, and contact us if you have any trouble logging in.)

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‘Summerwater’ by Sarah Moss: Mortality, Regret, and a Rained-Out Vacation

by Rayna Carey

Staying at a tourist campsite at a loch in Scotland, the different families of Sarah Moss’s Summerwater (203 pages; Farrar, Straus, and Giroux) have to contend with a day of heavy summer rain. Even though relatively little action occurs for most of Moss’s humorous and poetic novel, Summerwater’s narrative is driven by its various characters’ contemplations during the rainstorm. From frustrated teenage siblings to a little girl taunting a stranger to an elderly couple silently wrestling with the past, the diverse characters reveal themselves through their internal stream-of-consciousness dialogue as they contemplate mortality, regret, and marriage, as well as their […]

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‘Beautiful Things: A Memoir’ by Hunter Biden: A Document of Addiction and Redemption

by Joseph Holsworth

“I’ve smoked more cheddar popcorn than anybody on the face of the earth.” This line from Hunter Biden’s new memoir catches him at the lowest of lows. At this point in his decades-long addiction, he’s scrounging around for drugs, desperately searching between the seats of his car for anything resembling crack. His favorite snack food left flaky little pieces that to his addict’s eye looked just like rocks. Hunter Biden’s memoir, Beautiful Things: A Memoir (272 pages; Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster), is written with the acumen and craft of a born writer. This book is not the typically pointless and […]

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‘Post-Mortem’ by Heather Altfeld: The Complexity of Loss

by Meryl Natchez

There is a custom in the Jewish tradition called Kaddish, which includes saying aloud the names of the dead. The idea is that they live again for that brief moment when their name rings in the air. I thought of this while reading Heather Altfeld’s new book, Post-Mortem (100 pages; Orison Books), which details the complexity of loss we all know about but rarely speak of: the death of languages of indigenous peoples, of species, of the earth. Though the tone of the book is elegiac and it’s not light reading, the specificity and detail in these poems often make […]

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ZYZZYVA Staff Recommends April 2021: What to Read, Watch, & Listen To

by ZYZZYVA Staff

Owen Torrey, Intern: When the Nederlands Dans Theater 2 last toured through the city where I live, it was a late winter evening two years ago. I took the subway out from campus and arrived at an old theatre downtown, where the contemporary dance company presented several short works from their repertoire. At one point, dancers emerged on-stage to a doo-wop song, as small slips of paper fell from the auditorium’s high ceiling. A few collected in my lap, then piled around my shoes. Seeing my neighbor unfold hers and smile, I knelt to grab one. In tiny bold letters, […]

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The Technology Issue: Letter from the Editor

by Laura Cogan

ZYZZYVA Volume 37, #1, Spring 2021 (No. 120)

Dear Readers, At the beginning of George Dyson’s latest book, Analogia, he describes how, in 1716, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz hoped his calculus ratiocinator (an instrument that brilliantly anticipated digital computing) would “work out, by an infallible calculus, the doctrines most useful for life.” With this device, Leibniz imagined, “The human race will have a new kind of instrument which will increase the power of the mind much more than optical lenses strengthen the eyes.” I am struck by the analogy and how well it lends itself to piercing Leibniz’s optimism; for just as vision is not, in itself, perception, information […]

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‘Rabbit Island’ by Elvira Navarro: Masterful and Strange

by Lily Nilipour

In “Strychnine,” the second story of Elvira Navarro’s collection, Rabbit Island (164 pages; Two Lines Press; translated by Christina MacSweeney), an unnamed narrator wanders an unnamed city while struggling to write a story—her story. The only thing she can decide on is a style: “She wants to enter this aura of serene iciness she has just imagined, which is also the tone she wants for her text.” But the narrator’s project becomes hindered by the growth of a strange protrusion from her right ear–a paw with toes that have small mouths. The paw hangs painfully from her earlobe, garnering sideways […]

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