Articles by Michael Bourne

November 24, 2015

A Visit to Planet North Korea: On Adam Johnson’s ‘The Orphan Master’s Son’ 6

After Adam Johnson’s surprise win of the National Book Award for Fortune Smiles last week, readers new to Johnson’s work may also want to make room on their Christmas wish lists for his 2012 novel, The Orphan Master’s Son.

November 2, 2015

#NaGrafWriMo: Welcome to National Paragraph Writing Month! 7

It can take more talent, determination, and hard work to write one good paragraph than an entire lousy book.

October 19, 2015

Pulp Nonfiction: The Art and Business of Memoir 1

Whether its practitioners like to admit it or not, contemporary memoir, to a far greater degree than contemporary fiction, is an agents’ and editors’ medium.

October 1, 2015

Apocalypse Now: Claire Vaye Watkins’s ‘Gold Fame Citrus’ 1

Gold Fame Citrus takes an important step away from the moral convenience of cataclysm-as-metaphor — or, in lesser novels, cataclysm-as-plot-starter — toward an angrier, more urgent form that insists its reader do more than wallow in free-floating anxiety about the future.

August 24, 2015

Joan Didion, America’s Truth-Teller 2

Joan Didion possessed the luck of serving as a human tuning fork for the anxieties of her age and the dogged curiosity to pursue those anxieties wherever they led.

August 20, 2015

What Was the Matter with Kansas? On Andrew Malan Milward’s ‘I Was a Revolutionary’ 0

Unlike many young writers, Milward’s gaze isn’t directed at his own navel, but outward at the rough, strange history of the state that formed him.

July 22, 2015

America, Meet the Real Atticus Finch 4

Whatever its true provenance, Go Set a Watchman, despite some deft prose and sharp dialogue, fails as a work of art in every way except as a corrective to the standard sentimental reading of Atticus Finch.

July 13, 2015

No More Lies: The Great Second-Half 2015 Nonfiction Preview 2

Today, we offer a preview of some of the most compelling nonfiction titles set to arrive in bookstores between now and December.

June 10, 2015

Father’s Day Books for Dads Who Actually Read 7

A certain kind of man views his bookshelves the way a leopard sees bleached bones on the veldt — as evidence of past kills, the larger the better.

April 22, 2015

Hinge of History: Nine Books for the Post-Ferguson Era 4

These nine books, some new, some decades old, shed light on the history and evolution of racism in America.