Jess Bergman

  • The Groups

    “WE WONDER at our shifting capacities, keep / adding and striking skills / from the bottoms of our résumés / under constant revision / like the inscriptions on tombs,” Anna Moschovakis writes in her 2011 poetry collection You and Three Others Are Approaching a Lake. E, the sometimes-narrator of Moschovakis’s new novel Participation, would likely feel at home in this “we”: she has three jobs, or, as she later corrects herself, “tall piles of tasks—paid, unpaid, underpaid—at every moment.” In one of capitalism’s many depraved ironies, these multiple tasks don’t multiply her income. Instead, the

  • Tender Is the Fight

    MIRIAM TOEWS IS THE RARE NOVELIST for whom “write what you know” does not amount to conservative advice. Toews was born and raised in an insular Canadian Mennonite community called Steinbach. Her eventual rebellion, which included a stint touring North America in a dilapidated VW van with a fire-eating street performer, was nearly as thorough as the rigidity of her earlier life. Toews has shaved her head and hitched rides with punk bands. She has been a single mother on welfare. She has witnessed the debilitating depression that culminated in the deaths of both her father and older sister.