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Kate Tuttle

Writer & Critic

Kate Tuttle

Writing on books and authors, race and politics, family and childhood.

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Writing stories that move like poems

Maryse Meijer’s debut was a short story collection. For her second book, the Chicago author experimented with new forms. “I really was tired of struggling with the connective tissue that you always have to pay attention to when you’re writing fiction,” Meijer said. “I was reading a lot of poetry, and I just admired how easily they could just cut to the idea or image or feeling that was the most potent.
The Boston Globe Link to Story
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Exploring the dark mystery of suicide

Joan Wickersham’s book “The Suicide Index: Putting My Father’s Death In Order” was published in 2008. Not much has changed in the intervening decade. “It’s amazing to me that that came out 10 years ago,” Wickersham said. “I keep reading stories about suicide — and there have been a couple of very high-profile suicides in the past year — and it seems like each time the reaction is a kind of bafflement and this attempt to figure out why.”.
The Boston Globe Link to Story
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Raised by white parents, a Korean adoptee wrestles with identity

Growing up with her adoptive white parents in a very white town in southern Oregon, Nicole Chung “kept a secret running tally of every single Asian person I had ever seen in public.” There were so few, and her isolation so internalized, that even as a bookish little girl the stories she wrote didn’t include Asian characters.
The Boston Globe Link to Story
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Making sense of American poverty and her own life

“America didn’t talk about class when I was growing up,” writes Sarah Smarsh. Born to a teenage mother in the summer of 1980, she was a poor child in Kansas, a state that went big that fall for Reagan’s gauzy vision of morning in America, even as the farm economy that had once supported its people began to crumble.
The Boston Globe Link to Story
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Why a certain slur hasn’t gone away

The journalist Allison Yarrow remembers seeing an online quiz that surprised her. It invited users to learn “Which ’90s Bitch Are You?”. At the time, she was surprised — “I hadn’t really thought of the ’90s as returning for reassessment or nostalgic treatment” — but it sparked the idea for her new book.
The Boston Globe Link to Story
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Researching his own life

As long as he’s been writing fiction, Alexander Chee has also produced essays. The author of two novels, “Edinburgh” in 2001, and 2016’s “The Queen of the Night,” this spring Chee published his first nonfiction book, titled “How to Write an Autobiographical Novel.”. The book began with an invitation.
The Boston Globe Link to Story
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Nigerian couple wrestles with infertility, political upheaval

Ayòbámi Adébáyò started working on “Stay With Me” in 2011. “I began with initially what I felt was a short story,” she said, of a married couple having their last fight before finally separating. “I felt that story was done, but I just felt there was something just beneath the surface that I was not able to access yet.” It took five years, and “at least seven” rewrites before the Nigerian author was ready to release her first novel.
The Boston Globe Link to Story
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Black athletes and political minefields

For sports writer Howard Bryant, the current political tension between black athletes protesting police violence and a white president quick to label them unpatriotic for doing so is nothing new. For the past century, black athletes from Paul Robeson and Jackie Robinson to Colin Kaepernick and LeBron James have shared an often difficult duty to represent their race in a culture that values black bodies over black brains.
The Boston Globe Link to Story
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Cool books for hot days

The Boston Globe's Summer Reading list for 2018. My editor asked me to suggest ten books, including both new and older titles. These are all perfect for reading on the beach, in the park, at the lake, or wherever you find yourself.
Boston Globe Link to Story
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A tale of a dying man’s birthday, unapologetic in its Mexican-ness

As a writer, Luis Alberto Urrea is both prolific and versatile, with 16 books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. The son of an American mother and a Mexican father, he grew up part of a sprawling family that encompasses multiple nations and languages — a background that may have contributed to his seemingly effortless flexibility as a storyteller.
The Boston Globe Link to Story
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A memoir of a troubled mind

Sandra Allen had just begun graduate school as a student of creative nonfiction when she got a phone call from a number she didn’t recognize. “It was my uncle, a self-described hermit who lived alone in the desert,” Allen said. Her sparse memories of him came from family vacations on a Minnesota lake.
The Boston Globe Link to Story
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Talking with Morgan Jerkins

Morgan Jerkins’s first book, “This Will Be My Undoing,” is an essay collection that ranges from intimate stories about childhood, religion, and sexuality to broader cultural criticism on topics of race, gender, politics, and power. When asked whether she always knew the book would be so energetic and ambitious, the 25-year-old author said, “Yes!
The Boston Globe Link to Story

About

Kate Tuttle

I'm currently serving as President of the National Book Critics Circle. My reviews and articles about books have appeared in the Boston Globe, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Salon, Atlantic.com, and elsewhere. Native Kansan, longtime Cantabrigian, lately of Georgia, now in New Jersey. Mother, wife, pal.

Feel free to email me at kate.tuttle@gmail.com.