Suspend Your Disbelief

Jackie Reitzes

Contributing Editor

Jackie Reitzes has published fiction in Iron Horse Literary Review and non-fiction in ESPN: The Magazine and The Minneapolis Star Tribune. A native ATLien, she received a BA in English from The University of Michigan and still dreams of returning to Wolverine country one day. After working at HarperCollins Publishers for two years, she migrated to Ithaca, NY for an MFA in Fiction from Cornell University. She currently lives in New York City. Desert-Island picks include Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, Jesus’ Son by Denis Johnson, The Boys of My Youth by Jo Ann Beard, Killing Yourself to Live by Chuck Klosterman, and Self Help by Lorrie Moore.


Shop Talk |

The Risky Email Test

This is a little revision device I’ve whipped up to try to tell if a paragraph or page or section is too soft or vulnerable, if it needs to be edited out. Or if it’s too autobiographical in a way that could lead to questioning from my grandmother’s bridge club. You know how, after you’ve sent a risky email–maybe to someone you’re desperately in love with, or to your boss, or to a professor to lay into him a little bit when you aren’t really allowed to do that–there’s this feeling you get that maybe you should have waited until […]

Reviews |

Swamplandia! by Karen Russell

In her first novel, Swamplandia! (Knopf, 2011), acclaimed short story writer Karen Russell (St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves) renders a highly specific shoebox-world of wonder and mystery. Set in the Florida swamps, largely within a fictional alligator theme park, the sun rises and sets with her lush yet economical descriptions and poignant characterizations of the 14-year-old protagonist, Ava, and her rapidly dissolving family.

Reviews |

Bound, by Antonya Nelson

In this review of Antonya Nelson’s fourth novel, Bound, Jackie Retizes examines the role of serial killers as literary signifiers, how Nelson navigates multiple points of view, and why the author succeeds (when many less expert writers don’t) in favoring ambiguity over conclusions, “offering delicate moments of attachment in a book that is less about permanence than it is about restoration.”

Reviews |

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, by Aimee Bender

If you are what you eat, what happens when someone else eats what you are? In Aimee Bender’s latest novel, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, 9-year old Rose first experiences this conundrum when she tastes her mother’s birthday cake, only to come away with the uncomfortable understanding of her mother’s lonely dissatisfaction with life. The cake betrays the inner feelings of the cook. Over the course of the novel and Rose’s life, the predicament continues, building to an unwanted fixation of what constitutes food and those who grow and prepare it.

Reviews |

A Visit from the Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan

In a generation of “Pointers,” the relationship between and among songs on an album—its narrative—is all but lost in favor of hit single after single. But in Jennifer Egan’s new book, A Visit from the Goon Squad, an array of stories mix into a cohesive novel, each chapter self-contained yet fluid as the grooves of an LP.