Marla Wick

12 posts
Marla Wick is an editor and writer living in Northern California. She recently received her Ph.D. in American Literature from the University at Buffalo and also holds a B.A. from Montana State University-Billings in English and an M.A. from Ohio University in literature and critical theory. She has worked as a literary and academic editor for both university-affiliated publications and individual writers. Her primary research interests include the Gothic novel, speculative fiction, horror, multi-ethnic American literature, Caribbean literature, and post-colonial feminist theory. In addition to the above, she is an avid gym-goer and a vegan natural foods enthusiast.

Book Review: See Now Then by Jamaica Kincaid

Through the invocation of epic prose forms and literary allusion, Kincaid elevates the nuclear family drama to a grand level as she draws un-remarked and seemingly sincere parallels between the passions and animosities of familial relationships and the grand scope of literary and mythic history. In doing so, she taps into the reader’s intuitive sense of the way all personal tragedies and triumphs feel epic to those who go through them.

Book Review: Astray by Emma Donoghue

Though some stories in Astray are more poignant than others, Donoghue once again shows herself to be a writer who excels at evoking characters with startling precision. The result is an exceptional collection that meditates widely on the way in which even the most stable-seeming lives can quickly unravel, revealing the contingent nature of the idea of stability itself.

Book Review: This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz

Perhaps it’s fair to say that the big accomplishment of Diaz’s new book is that it does what authors have always done, but it does it really well. He explores grand concepts—pain, love, history, and life—through an obsessive devotion to particulars. The violence of colonial history replays itself in the troubled starts and stops of a family struggling for connection and in Yunior’s own search for love.

Book Review: Pure by Julianna Baggott

Sketching the parameters of Baggott’s palimpsestic narrative is tricky. Briefly put, the backstory of the novel involves a hyperbolic escalation of conservative cultural rhetoric that seeks a return to “traditional” values: restrained, upper-class politeness and hardline gender roles. The maniacal masterminds behind this so-called “Return of Civility” followed a violent effort at social engineering with a wave of nuclear attacks, referred to in the novel as the Detonations.

Book Review: Odditorium: Stories

While the collection of eight stories has its highs and lows, Pritchard’s newest book offers an unforgettable tour through the author’s exceptionally rich prose worlds. From the suggestively self-reflective to the evocatively political, The Odditorium immerses the reader in stories woven from a dense and dynamic imagination, exquisitely executed and brilliantly textured.

Book Review: Ragnarok: The End of the Gods

Obsessed with the idea of apocalypse, the child whose world is on the verge of unwinding takes comfort in the fantastic tales of sea serpents and ravenous wolves, tortured demi-gods and Yggdrasil—the tree that holds the world in its branches. The thin child finds a way to live in these stories, which vividly reflect the terrors, uncertainties, and vicissitudes of life in a way that both “the sweet, cotton-wool meek and mild” Jesus and “the barbaric sacrificial gloating” Old Testament deity fail to do.

Book Review: Mule: A Novel of Moving Weight by Tony D’Souza

After a happy, if lean, year spent in a tiny mountain cabin, struggling to get their bearings—financial and otherwise, James receives an offer he is unable to refuse. A friend of Kate’s, he learns, has been living the high life for years off of his prospering business in the marijuana industry. Darren owns several properties with untold numbers of workers and can afford to spend half his time and a good chunk of his money in Thailand, sleeping around and supporting a small farming industry of some sort.

Book Review: The Monkey’s Wedding and Other Stories by Joan Aiken

The pieces in this collection are tight knots or loose koans—sweet little puzzles. Told with the disarming guilelessness of parables, Aiken’s stories slip the apparent structure of their bounds at the last moment. For example, “The Monkey’s Wedding,” while describing the scrabble for the eponymously named painting, also explores the open-ended drama of a fractured family.