Articles by Michael Bourne

July 26, 2013

Pride and Privilege: On Joanna Hershon’s A Dual Inheritance 1

A Dual Inheritance is that most pleasing of literary beasts: a novel of ideas wrapped up in a big, sudsy intergenerational saga of screwed-up families and soul-destroying love triangles.

July 12, 2013

The Apple Antitrust Case and the Widgetification of Books 10

It is easy to see the Apple antitrust suit as merely a clash between multi-billion-dollar corporations, but at heart the case asks a fundamental societal question: what, legally speaking, is art?

June 24, 2013

“The Locked Room of Himself”: On Colm Tóibín’s The Master 9

I have never cared so much about a character I liked so little.

May 16, 2013

Up Shit Creek, Sans Paddle: On David Waltner-Toews’s The Origin of Feces 2

The Origins of Feces is a genial book, and often a kick to read, but I put it down thinking two things: 1. I will never look at shit the same way again; and 2. We are in deep shit.

April 29, 2013

Say Goodbye to the Play-by-Play Book Review 9

In an increasingly digital world, literary critics need to become less like play-by-play announcer Joe Buck and more like color commentator Tim McCarver.

April 1, 2013

Amazon Announces Purchase of English™ 25

Plans are also in the works to acquire German, Spanish, French, and Mandarin Chinese, Bezos said, as well as several nonstandard dialects of English™, including African-American Vernacular English, popular among the highly desirable 18-25 upscale suburban demographic.

March 12, 2013

Who Are We Without Our Stories? Jonathan Dee’s A Thousand Pardons 3

The first twenty pages has the feel of a cable TV pilot, not the opening chapter of a literary novel. I even cast it in my mind, and became half-convinced that if I could just get Alison Janney to commit to play Helen, I could have it on HBO in time for the fall season.

February 20, 2013

‘God, Let Me Be Loved': The Tragedy of Truman Capote 12

If Capote the writer has been eclipsed in the public mind by Capote the Hollywood movie character, no one is more to blame than Capote himself. Capote, in his way, was a reality TV star before there was reality TV, always on stage, gossiping and backstabbing, forever plotting to push other people off the island.

February 1, 2013

Peeling Back the Oprah Seal: Ayana Mathis’s Twelve Tribes of Hattie 8

It is high time defenders of American literary fiction cut Oprah Winfrey a break.

January 3, 2013

My New Year’s Resolution: Read Fewer Books 51

I’m a genius, I’ve been quietly telling myself for the past 13 years, and nobody even knows it.