TCR Daily

TCR Talks with David Martinez, author of Bones Worth Breaking

By Jackelin Orellana UC Riverside-Palm Desert MFA alumnus David Martinez wrote his debut memoir, Bones Worth Breaking, while grieving his brother’s death. With a background in writing fiction, David never intended to write a memoir. One day, he got hit by a car, and that experience made him take a deeper look at the scars that life had left on his body. Each scar turned into a story, and each story eventually evolved into a book-length work. Martinez writess with uncensored honesty about drugs, mental health, and his experience growing up Mormon. He challenges readers to look deeper into the invisible…

Read more

TCR Talks with Ashley Granillo, author of Cruzita and the Mariacheros

By Kevin T. Morales Ashley Granillo delved deep into her family and the community of Pacoima, California, for her debut middle-grade novel, Cruzita and the Mariacheros, the compassionate and humorous story of a seventh grader who struggles with grief while trying to reconcile the conflict between her dreams of pop stardom with her family’s need for her to participate in the day-to-day operations of their bakery. Cruz, the story’s heroine, feels like she doesn’t fit in at home because she wasn’t raised speaking Spanish, an increasingly common issue for today’s American Latinx people. The Coachella Review spoke to Ashley about…

Read more

TCR Talks with Travis Burkett, author of An American Band

By Ty Landers UC Riverside-Palm Desert MFA alumnus Travis Burkett’s first novel An American Band hits shelves as the immigration crisis at the southern border of the United States continues to flummox Washington. Though his book, set in alternating timelines between 2015 and 1984, is not overtly political, the border problem serves as a brilliant conceit for a well-paced and entertaining literary crime novel, providing an opportunity for a wide-eyed, engrossing examination of an ongoing humanitarian crisis. Burkett’s novel takes an unflinching look at the craven structures of corruption that often spring up around pursuits of happiness. In the novel,…

Read more

REVIEW: All the World Beside by Garrard Conley

Reviewed by Toby LaPlant Garrard Conley, author of the bestselling memoir Boy Erased, makes his fiction debut with All the World Beside, a soft-spoken exploration of the interplay between religious belief and personal fulfillment, and how love, in its many varieties, can expand our understanding of who makes up a family. With complex characters that embody contemporary relationships to sexuality and gender while belonging wholly to Conley’s historical setting, the novel is a compelling invitation to leap into faith in a queer past that remains largely hidden. Set in colonial America, in the aftermath of the ferocious exercise of condemnation…

Read more

TCR Talks with Kaia Gallagher, author of Candles for the Defiant

By Yennie Cheung Despite Estonia’s declaration of neutrality during World War II, the Soviet Union invaded and illegally occupied the small Baltic country in 1940, leading to mass executions and deportations of Estonians to Siberia. In Candles for the Defiant: Discovering My Family’s Estonian Past, debut author Kaia Gallagher uncovers her family’s history in the region during the war. At its core a story of love and loyalty, the book focuses on Asta Vares—the mysterious aunt whose wartime death long haunted Gallagher’s family—and Asta’s fiancé, Bruno Kulgma Kull, a law student who joined the Communist Party as an Estonian patriot…

Read more

TCR talks with Albert Kim, showrunner for Netflix’s Avatar: The Last Airbender

By Sean Belfina  Water, earth, fire, air. Fans of Nickelodeon’s beloved animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender know the rest. Its element-bending action, humor, and heart glued many to their television sets during its original run from 2005-2008. Heavily influenced by Asian culture, the show broke westernized fantasy stereotypes and spotlighted representation. Now, Netflix has adapted the show into a live action series starring an all-Asian and Indigenous cast. The series looks to remix the animated series and bring new viewers to this vast fantastical world. At the helm of this flying bison is Albert Kim, notable for his work…

Read more

POETRY: I See the Blind by Laine Derr

I See the Blind Flashing in the morning light, knowing change is but a coin tossed in the air, neither heads nor tails, cement-kissed cheek unable to turn (keeping still) lest I wake the sleeping ones. Cuffed up for being of color, of consequence. Feeling weight, long dead, of a grandmother’s song: On Sundays, I see the blind. When they caught up to me, I slept like a stone, newly polished – a glistening red. Laine Derr holds an MFA from Northern Arizona University and has published interviews with Carl Phillips, Ross Gay, Ted Kooser, and Robert Pinsky. Recent work…

Read more

TCR Talks with Jaime Stickle, creator of The Girl with the Same Name

By Perrin Pring Upon arriving in California over twenty years ago, writer Jaime Stickle had the unsettling experience of being asked if Jaime Stickle was really her name. It was then she became aware of a young woman, Jamie Stickle, who had been found burned alive in her car in Pittsburgh. The only difference in their names is a slight variation in spelling. Over the next twenty years, Jaime went on to have a productive career in storytelling, but she never forgot about the unsolved death of the woman whose name was nearly identical to her own. With her new…

Read more

REVIEW: The City of Stardust by Georgia Summers

Reviewed by Dave Oei Georgia Summers’s debut novel The City of Stardust blends urban and high fantasy into an adventure that spans the English countryside, the continents, places hidden beneath and around us, and the mystical world of Fidelis, a land filled with equal parts magic and horror. It’s a story of a young woman, Violet Everly, who has inherited a family curse and is hell-bent on averting it. Failure means her death. Violet’s adversaries include, among others, a mysterious woman named Penelope who wields insurmountable power; Penelope’s reluctant, heat-starved assistant Yuri; and one particularly hungry ancient god chained under…

Read more

POETRY: Too Much by Jason M. Thornberry

He gave them too much of not enough, So they brought an empty birthday card And lay it against his wet headstone. Jason M. Thornberry’s writing appears in JMWW, Los Angeles Review of Books, North Dakota Quarterly, Harbor Review, Entropy, TAB: The Journal of Poetry and Poetics, and elsewhere. Assaulted by strangers, he suffered a traumatic brain injury. Relearning to walk and speak—and navigating post-traumatic epilepsy—Jason earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Chapman University. He’s currently seeking a home for his first novel. Jason lives in Seattle with his wife and dog and teaches writing at Seattle Pacific University.

Read more

POETRY: Death Is a Dress Never by Ellen Devlin

Death is a dress never worn, waiting in our closets linen or wool we can die in any season a dress too important to wear, pushed into a dusty corner of occasion dresses bridesmaid dresses don’t fit dresses sale dresses dresses the moths got dresses bought in bad light drunk dresses pooled on the floor worn out dresses worried dresses we never get it right. Ellen Devlin is the author of the chapbooks Rita and Heavenly Bodies at the MET. Her recent journal publications include Beyond Words (2023), Feral: A Journal of Poetry and Art (2023), Muleskinner Journal (2023), Rock…

Read more

TCR Talks with Mathieu Cailler, author of Forest for the Trees

By Chih Wang If something seems familiar about Mathieu Cailler’s new short story collection, Forest for the Trees, maybe it’s because one of its pieces, “Quickenings,” was first published here at The Coachella Review. In this collection—his seventh book and second of short stories—he brings us intimate moments of people’s quiet suffering, their little joys, losses, and revelations, from a wife passively defying her husband (“Party of Two”) to a taxi driver protecting his passenger from an abusive date (“Highway 111”), from a war veteran’s rescue gone wrong (the title story, “Forest for the Trees”) to a gun’s silent witness…

Read more