Suspend Your Disbelief

Natalie Bakopoulos

Contributing Editor

Natalie Bakopoulos is the author of The Green Shore (Simon & Schuster, 2012), which takes place in Athens and Paris between 1967 and 1973. Her work has appeared in Tin House, Ninth Letter, Salon, Granta, Glimmer Train, Virginia Quarterly Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Millions, The New York Times, and the 2010 PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories. Her book reviews appear regularly in the San Francisco Chronicle. She’s the recipient of fellowships from the Camargo Foundation, the Sozopol Fiction Seminars, and the MacDowell Colony. Most recently, she was named a 2014-2015 Fulbright Scholar. She teaches at Wayne State University and the University of Michigan.


Essays |

We’re in love. It’s complicated.

Marriage is so last century. Natalie Bakopoulos contemplates the demise of the marriage plot and Jeffrey Eugenides’s complex, undermining revival of it in his aptly-titled novel, The Marriage Plot. Is love still the ultimate trump card? Dear reader, it is. With some qualifications.

Shop Talk |

Stories We Love: "Map of the City"

Editor’s note: What? Isn’t Short Story Month over? Yes, it is—but that doesn’t mean we stop loving short stories. So here’s an encore round of “Stories We Love.” In “Map of the City,” a story from her new collection Separate Kingdoms, Valerie Laken portrays the life of an American college student in perostroika-era Moscow. The story is brilliantly structured—the names of Moscow metro stations head the various sections, each of which captures a new moment in time and space and thereby mimics the experience of using the subway: you descend into one station and resurface at another. Perestroika, after all, […]

Shop Talk |

Save Harper's Magazine

For the last several months, Harper’s staff, recently unionized, has been in conflict with the magazine’s publisher, John R. “Rick” MacArthur. The disagreements stem from various sources, which have been outlined in two recent articles in New York Magazine, here and here. In short: MacArthur is resistant to other avenues of revenue, including fund raising. Instead, having already cut the size and payroll of the editorial staff, which lost four senior editors and its web editor in 2010, MacArthur is now insisting that it’s necessary to lay off, immediately, two of the magazine’s most experienced editors, one of whom is […]

Shop Talk |

The Difference between the Lightning Bug and the Lightning

New South Books, an Alabama publisher, plans to release a version of Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn wherein the n-word is replaced by the word “slave.” 219 times. The professor who originally approached the publisher with the idea did so because he himself felt uncomfortable using the word in class. I, of course, feel uncomfortable even writing it out. And if I were teaching Huck Finn, I wouldn’t utter it either, though its presence certainly wouldn’t keep me from teaching the book in the classroom and discussing this discomfort with my students. Needless to say, the release of this […]

Reviews |

In a Strange Room, by Damon Galgut

In a Strange Room ­­chronicles Damon’s travels as he journeys from Greece, to various countries in Africa, to India. Traveling, in general, disorients. We are displaced from our normal locations, we are observing places that are not our own, and our minds constantly compare the new, foreign place with the familiar one.

Reviews |

Sag Harbor, by Colson Whitehead

Colson Whitehead’s fourth novel, Sag Harbor, is driven not by plot but by time, by the fleetingness of summer and its constant reminder of that fleetingness. The beginning is slow, with the sense of months ahead, time to digress and ponder and imagine and internalize, with the thickest, most dense prose socked in the middle of July, the more desperate, urgent bursts as we careen toward Labor Day. The writing is wonderfully languorous throughout, like summer itself, and a perfect match for adolescence: unrestrained and indulgent but wonderfully self-conscious as well.

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