Articles by Emily St. John Mandel
December 10, 2016
The premise is harrowing, the prose is stark and beautiful, the plotting is impeccable, and there’s something utterly heartbreaking in El Akkad’s subtle rendition of the ways in which war shapes the human soul.
December 6, 2015
Skyfaring is a love letter to flight, to a profession, and reading it is a balm. Vanhoenacker slips easily between poetic meditation into the nature and history of travel and technical explanations of the mechanisms of the 747, and it is a delight to encounter someone so unabashedly enamored of the romance of his profession.
December 8, 2014
Without reservation, I would call J.M. Ledgard’s Submergence a masterpiece.
November 24, 2014
No one’s sure whose idea it was to call the new professor Wittgenstein, but it seems somehow fitting. He is a maddening teacher. No one quite follows what he’s trying to convey. But he seems, in some essential way, like the real thing.
April 30, 2014
A Fairy Tale is a fascinating and often brutal meditation on alienation and trauma. “What separates man from any other species,” Peter’s father told him one evening, before it all came undone, “is his ability to adapt.” But in A Fairy Tale, adaptation is precisely the problem.
March 7, 2014
By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept is a staggering accomplishment, an exquisite and often ecstatic rendition of a tumultuous affair: “Jupiter has been with Leda, I thought, and now nothing can avert the Trojan wars. All legend will be broken, but who will escape alive?”
December 14, 2013
What makes Scissors extraordinary isn’t Stéphane Michaka’s technical fireworks, but the humanity and compassion with which he presents his flawed and fascinating characters, in their struggles with alcoholism, with one another, with their work, with themselves.
August 27, 2013
“Books are solitudes in which we meet,” Rebecca Solnit wrote. But before the meeting comes the solitude, the book as a private space that a reader steps into, and there are moments when escaping into a book is a bid for some measure of seclusion. If the solitude you crave at the moment is a quiet one, here’s a short reading list of quiet books that I’ve recently read and admired.
August 8, 2013
In the absence of context, only the things that are truly important remain: someone was here, and freight trains broke their heart, and someone wanted them to stay but they didn’t.
July 31, 2013
The rapidly loosening mores of that time looked like freedom, but the level of risk that comes with freedom is never, of course, the same for everyone. Everyone who frequented the speakeasies of 1920s New York was taking a risk, but some had a net to catch them if they fell, and others didn’t.