5 Most Popular Posts: June 2021

  • July 2, 2021

We here at the Independent love every piece we run. There are no winners or losers. But all kidding aside, here are June’s winners.

5 Most Popular Posts: June 2021

  1. Sally Shivnan’s review of The Murmur of Bees: A Novel by Sofía Segovia; translated by Simon Bruni (Amazon Crossing). “A magical-realism romp from Mexico, Sofía Segovia’s The Murmur of Bees — her first novel translated into English — offers a dizzying swirl of history, family lore, tragedy, redemption, and, of course, magic. It’s the kind of magic that Latin American authors have developed to a high and subtle art, and it infuses every page of this saga.”

  2. “Tome of the Unknown” by Mary Collins. “Years later, after I left DC for a job at Central Connecticut State University, I got a call from someone in California’s state education department. They wanted to use some of my old Smithsonian Magazine columns as writing samples on the verbal portion of a standardized test. Would I grant permission? Once again, millions would see my work, and this time, my byline would be front and center! Sweaty high-schoolers, resenting every moment of the experience, would read my prose and…well, probably shudder, curse my name, and ask for a bathroom break. ‘Sure!’ I said, always happy to have my byline out there somewhere.”

  3. Bob Duffy’s review of Ethel Rosenberg: An American Tragedy by Anne Sebba (St. Martin’s Press). “Ethel Rosenberg is richly illustrated, adding to the authenticity and vigor of Sebba’s densely peopled narrative. The endnotes and deep bibliography are equally essential to our full understanding of Ethel’s path to the electric chair and the national circumstances that made it possible, however outrageous the saga may seem in 2021. The case of Ethel Rosenberg and its attendant context — cultural, political, borderline imaginary — have much to teach us today, when balanced and objective truth seems to repel so many Americans. This is not just history, but a cautionary tale.”

  4. “As I Lay Trying” by Hannah Joyner. “‘By what right,’ Gorra asks, does Faulkner ‘attempt to represent or to speak for the other, [or] through the other?’ Our initial response might be that when white authors create Black characters and then create dialogue for them, they are employing obvious forms of cultural and linguistic appropriation. Yet if Faulkner chose not to include his version of the voices and perspectives of Black characters — or not to include these characters at all — he would’ve created a version of Southern life that was, as Gorra says, ‘completely implausible.’”

  5. Terri Lewis’ review of Early Morning Riser: A Novel by Katherine Heiny (Knopf). “Imagine your college roommate, let’s call her Jane, graduates and moves away to teach in a tiny town in far north Michigan. Every few years, you get together to catch up. Because Jane has always attracted odd people, has a wry sense of humor, and is a great storyteller, you look forward to these meetings. Katherine Heiny’s new novel, Early Morning Riser, is Jane’s story.”

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