RaveTIMEMorgan Jerkins delights in finding the fantastical within the familiar. In her new novel, Caul Baby, everyday life takes on a surreal glow ... No element of Caul Baby better illustrates Jerkins’ ability to spin magic out of the mundane than the titular caul, the amniotic membrane that surrounds a baby in the womb ... Jerkins began writing Caul Baby in 2015, shortly after moving to Harlem from New Jersey. That she worked on the novel almost the entirety of her time there is evident in the writing. Landmarks like Amy Ruth’s restaurant and St. Philip’s Church are name-checked, and the vibrancy of the city crowds every page.
Mariah Carey, with Michaela Angela Davis
RaveTime Magazine... the book is a page-turning guide to the public narratives and intimate moments that Carey has long hinted at in her song lyrics. It’s less a book of major reveals than one that provides depth and valuable context around the experiences of a star whose traumas make headlines and whose soundbites and facial expressions are internet gold ... Like one of her perfect pop tracks, The Meaning of Mariah Carey is a careful construction. While the book reflects on her triumphs and tragedies, we only see as much as she wants to reveal. But that’s not a bad thing. What Carey presents to us is the wholly entertaining tale of a woman who made a harmony out of the discordant elements of her life.
RaveTIMETo read Jenny Zhang is to embrace primal states: pleasure, hunger, longing and rage. In her second book of poetry, My Baby First Birthday, Zhang glories in the messiness of living while probing how the instinct to nurture can sometimes be matched by the impulse to destroy ... The collection is fascinated with both motherhood and new life—the fierce giving and taking of unconditional love and the traumas that can result from this exchange ... Zhang’s observations, peppered cheekily with Internet shorthand, are flanked by graphic and often gross imagery—something readers of her past books, the short-story collection...and her poetry debut...will recognize ... Reading these poems, one gets the sense that Zhang wants to overwhelm readers— not to hold them in her thrall, although she could easily do so, but to fulfill an earnest wish for them to feel the richness of everything that they can, emotionally and physically, even if that complicates their reality.
RaveTime\"In Heavy, [Laymon] writes with a fearless intimacy and bracing honesty, indicting the treatment of black people in the U.S. The book’s a high-water mark for both personal narrative and social criticism.\