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Crown Heights, 2020

In “Crown Heights, 2020” a Black woman who has been living in quarantine with her white partner recognizes a shift in their dynamic once the racial justice protests begin. In sharp incisive fragments, the narrator doesn’t hold back as she gives us the history of their relationship and the fetishization that she now realizes is at its heart.

Mardon’s Night

Kjell Askildsen published his first collection of stories in 1953. This month, Archipelago Books publishes Everything Like Before, a career-spanning collection from the 91-year-old Norwegian writer. Themes remain remarkably consistent throughout the work: absence, family, memory, and uncertainty. The sensory experience reminds me most of a long still in a Tarkovsky film, maybe a few photographs submerged in a murky stream. The story selected here, “Mardon’s Night,” exemplifies the movement of all relationships, the ebb and flow in the very act of relating, and how our interpretation of another’s subjectivity moves gently, easing its way to understanding. The result is a masterful representation of consciousness.


The Brooklyn Rail

MAY 2021

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