It's easy to fall of a cliff when talking about "unreliable narrators," those character perspectives who a reader realizes at some point cannot be entirely trusted. Once you head down this path, it becomes very easy to start seeing every narrator as unreliable. David Copperfield? Was he born? Ishmael? Total charlatan! And what is "truth" … Continue reading Unreliable

History and its Aftershocks: There There by Tommy Orange

In There There Tommy Orange uses individual human vignettes to represent the way that history reverberates into the present. The aftershocks of settler colonialism tear through the lives of indigenous people today, even those living in urban environments far from traditional geographies and ways of life. Orange's novel depicts a specifically Native American experience, yet … Continue reading History and its Aftershocks: There There by Tommy Orange


I learned the word only a year or two ago. In Kate Atkinson's Life After Life, the life-rebooting protagonist Ursula Todd tells her psycho-therapist that time is not circular but, rather, "It's like a ... palimpsest." To which the doctor replies, "Oh dear, that sounds very vexing." Looking the word up, I discovered that a … Continue reading Palimpsest