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Book reviewers at high-profile publications have been giving out solid praise for Babylon and Other Stories, the second book by Alix Ohlin, assistant professor of English.

Babylon, which was published last month by Knopf, is a collection of 17 short stories set in various locales from Montreal to the Southwest with a set of characters coming to terms with life’s epiphanies.

The book has been reviewed in the New York Times, Baltimore Sun, San Francisco Chronicle, Time Out New York, and Montreal Gazette.

The New York Times review describes Ohlin as a talented storyteller exploring the limits of her art. “There are clues that this writer is up to something bigger than merely telling stories that tease, amuse, trouble, captivate and offer fleeting comforts with every trembling denouement. In the title story and elsewhere in this admirably varied collection, Ohlin stakes out a home for her work in the fertile middle ground between the realism of an older generation of writers (Richard Ford and Joyce Carol Oates come first to mind) and the nod-and-a-wink fabulism practiced by a slew of younger authors, including Hannah Tinti and Aimee Bender.”

“What Ohlin does best is encapsulate a longing and loneliness,” states the review in the Baltimore Sun. “There are no characters in Babylon who aren’t missing something: a parent, a partner, a reason to live. They are alienated from themselves, each other, their respective worlds. Ohlin delves into the lives of her characters – even in her shortest pieces – and reveals a depth to them, and a poignancy, that is deeply affecting.”

Ohlin’s debut novel, The Missing Person, also received favorable reviews in the New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Montreal Gazette, and Buffalo News. She joined the Lafayette faculty in 2004 and teaches courses in creative writing, college writing, and literature and film.

Ohlin advised two English majors who took her screenwriting course in independent study projects. Benjamin Hauptfuhrer ’07 (Bronxville, N.Y.) and Ardin Marchetta ’06 (Califon, N.J.) both completed feature-length screenplays.

Before coming to Lafayette, Ohlin was writer-in-residence at Portsmouth Abbey School and instructor at Inkberry Center for Writing in the Berkshires since 2002. Her fiction has appeared in the One Story series and Shenandoah, among other periodicals, and in Best New American Voices 2004. She has received awards and fellowships from The Atlantic Monthly, the MacDowell Colony, and The Kenyon Review’sWriters Workshop.

She holds an M.F.A. from University of Texas at Austin’s Michener Center for Writers and a B.A. in English and American literature and language from Harvard University.

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