Q&A with Madelaine Lucas: ‘Thirst for Salt’ and the Roots of Desire

by Valerie Braylovskiy

Madelaine Lucas’s first novel, Thirst for Salt (272 pages; Tin House Books), centers on an unnamed female narrator and her love for an older man, offering profound reflections on how the absence of affection can still take up space in one’s life. Throughout the story, notions of desire are uprooted by the impermanence of relationships, places, and the self. Lucas writes with a poetic precision that captures the sharp and mellow edges of love, as well as its intersections with grief. Born in Australia, Lucas now lives in New York, where she is senior editor of the literary magazine NOON […]

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‘Win Me Something’ by Kyle Lucia Wu: An Outsider in the World of Privilege

by Supriya Saxena

Reading Kyle Lucia Wu’s first novel, Win Me Something (257 pages; Tin House), feels like listening to a friend tell you about her life straightforward and true. The main character, Willa Chen, a 23-year-old working-class Brooklynite who thinks her life has lost direction, proves immediately relatable. The first-person narration seems to come from her very soul, yet this directness belies a beautifully understated poignancy contained in Willa herself: though she may seem unremarkable at first, she is a deeply scarred, isolated individual. Willa lives in Crown Heights in a tiny apartment with a roommate who is more often than not […]

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‘Always Crashing in the Same Car: On Art, Crisis, and Los Angeles, California’ by Matthew Specktor: Blood Sports

by Paul Wilner

As the Beat poet Lew Welch pithily put it, “More people know you than you know. Fame.” Welch was someone who knew whereof he spoke. He disappeared from his friend Gary Snyder’s house into a nearby mountain range in May 1971, leaving behind a cryptic farewell note that read, in part: “I had great visions but could never bring them together with reality. I used it all up. It’s gone.’’ Matthew Specktor explores the pulls—and perils—of chasing success in Always Crashing in the Same Car: On Art, Crisis, and Los Angeles, California (300 pages; Tin House), an eloquent account of […]

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