Film Review: Manchester by the Sea

Manchester by the Sea

Manchester by the Sea written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan (Affleck/Middleton Project, B Story, Big Indie Pictures, R, 137 min) Starring Casey Affleck, Kyle Chandler, Michelle Williams, Gretchen Mol, and Lucas Hedges. Armchair Psychology Putting on my armchair psychologist bow tie, I’ll make an unfounded proclamation: we link emotional resonance to physical location. For example, we develop deep, nostalgic feelings for locations around the campus of our alma mater. Personally, my wedding location conjures feelings of love and joy. The sights, sounds, and smells of an area lodge deep in our souls. While watching the acclaimed Manchester by the Sea, I kept thinking about this phenomenon. New England Meets the Atlantic Set in New England, Manchester by the Sea depicts… Read More →

Book Review: The Hundred-Year House

The Hundred-Year House

The Hundred-Year House: A Novel by Rebecca Makkai (New York: Viking, 2014. 352 pp) Rebecca Makkai’s first novel, The Borrower, was a Booklist Top Ten Debut, an Indie Next pick, and an O, The Oprah Magazine selection. Her work has appeared in Harper’s, Tin House, Ploughshares, and New England Review, and has been selected four times for The Best American Short Stories. The recipient of a 2014 NEA Fellowship, she lives in Chicago and Vermont. The History of Place I live in a house nearing its one-hundredth birthday. I am aware of a few of the inhabitants before me, perhaps 5 years worth of residency. The people meandering these rooms for the other 95 years are left to the imagination…. Read More →

Book Review: Battleborn

Battleborn by Claire Vaye Watkins

Battleborn: Stories by Claire Vaye Watkins (New York: Riverhead Books, 2012. 304 pp) Born in California, Claire Vaye Watkins is an author, co-director of the Mojave School, and a visiting assistant professor at Princeton University. She graduate from the University of Nevada Reno and earned her MFA from Ohio State University. Battleborn, her collection of short stories won the Story Prize, the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award, the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a Silver Pen Award from the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame. Practicing Practicum During my graduate years at Seattle Pacific University, I had the opportunity to choose a practicum which applied the topics of our courses… Read More →

Book Review: NW

NW by Zadie Smith

NW: A Novel by Zadie Smith (New York: The Penguin Press, 2012. 416 pp) Zadie Smith was born in London. She went to King’s College, Cambridge University. Smith has written four novels and earned multiple awards including, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction, the Commonwealth Writers’ Best Book Award, and the Orange Prize for Fiction. She is a tenured professor in the Creative Writing Program at New York University. The Power of Place The power of place reverberates much further than any of us dare to admit. While we all hold unique personalities, the broad regions and specific communities around which we orbit influence us profoundly. This reality causes people to offer broad stereotypes for different regions. For… Read More →

Book Review: Useless Landscape, or A Guide for Boys

Useless Landscape, or a Guide for Boys: Poems by D. A. Powell (Minneapolis: Graywolf Press, 2012. 110 pp) D. A. Powell is the author of five collections of poetry, including the trilogy of Tea, Lunch, and Cocktails, and Chronic, winner of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. He has twice been a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry. He lives in San Francisco. The Who Who are you? The defining characteristics of each person are often both varied and unusual. As humans we can all claim similar traits. We love; we laugh; we live; we die. Externally, we even define ourselves through the region in which we live. I am a Seattleite; I am Cascadian. My region… Read More →