Respectability continues to be a confounding issue. But progress seems to accelerate when movements are broad-based, with space and freedom for people to fight in their own ways. Both Untamed and The Deviant’s War explore this topic.
Mary Gabriel flips the popular narrative, allowing us to reassess the people, the art, and the moment — the rise of Abstract Expressionism — through the lens of the women who lived it and forced the art world to make space.
Rebecca Makkai is masterful, balancing forces near perfectly: the sweep of history pulling everyone into its vortex; and the human dramas that play out all the same, “the messes we make on our own.”
Colum McCann is probing memory and stretching the limits of the novel. And not just the memory of his protagonists, but the memory of the land itself. The result is transportive, sweeping but rooted in humanity.
The literal magic is front-loaded in Sharks, but some of the best magic comes toward its conclusion, with Washburn pushing us to broaden our conception of what is magical. It is a welcome debut.