Post-40 Bloomers

April 17, 2014

Sergei Dovlatov: Gravity, Levity, and Love 2

by

A few years ago, when I first starting reading and writing about Dovlatov, I focused on the wickedly humorous side of Dovlatov’s deadpan. But a few years later, and a few more books into his body of work, I find myself more interested in that earnestness and regret — in Dovlatov the evolving man and artist, who crafted and, yes, honed a version of himself in his fiction that was just distorted enough to be true.

March 13, 2014

Deadlines, Word Counts, and Magnificent Lies: On Hesh Kestin 0

by

He had finished his first [novel], Small Change, when he was 23, and it was bought and slated for publication until he balked at changing the title to Season of Lust. The book was never published, nor were the next three. Eventually, as he puts it, “the noise of the hungry bellies of my kids used to keep me up at night.” So he got a real job, this time as a war correspondent—for, as it turned out, Newsday.

February 13, 2014

Post-40 Bloomers: You’ve Come a Long Way, Lady James 1

by

James’s detective novels represent the best qualities of the genre: they are absorbing, intellectually challenging, emotionally satisfying, and artfully constructed. The process of unraveling the mystery demands the reader’s attention and patience as the investigators work through the evidence, and yet the solutions that emerge seem simultaneously surprising and inevitable.

January 16, 2014

Post-40 Bloomers: Ellen Meloy and Understanding Everything 1

by

What Meloy does share with Thoreau is a need for wilderness. As a naturalist and memoirist, she guides her readers toward a conscious relationship with the natural world, urging them to bear witness — to choose something to care about.

December 9, 2013

Thought Episodes: Norman Rush’s Novels of Ideas 3

by

Rush has successfully created that rare and most valuable art form, the novel of ideas.

November 11, 2013

Jane Gardam’s Characters: Organically Grown 1

by

Gardam didn’t sit down to write what would become her first collection of short stories until she was 41. But even in her first works, written for children, a reader can sense a lifetime of thoughtful observation — and the even hand of a veteran gardener, which, it turns out, she is.

October 14, 2013

Southern Myths and Yankee Murder in the Strangely Wonderful World of Pickett’s Charge 0

by

McNair is inventive, original, and has a particular talent for finding language that is surprising without being showy. But his real skill is his deep familiarity with the South as a place, it’s creatures, customs, and yearnings.

September 11, 2013

Audio Conversation With Paul Harding 0

by

At Bloom this week, a spotlight on Pulitzer-Prize winner Paul Harding, whose second novel Enon has just been released.  Plus a special treat: Joe Schuster speaks to Harding by phone in this two-part interview.

September 9, 2013

Post-40 Bloomers: The Risky Fiction of Paul Harding 0

by

In April 2010, Harding’s debut won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction – such a surprising selection that The New York Times headlined its profile of Harding after the prize “Mr. Cinderella.”

July 16, 2013

Post-40 Bloomer: Thomas Van Essen and the Ekphrasis of Ecstasy 0

by

The Center of the World is, simply, the story of a painting. But the painting, a full-figure portrait of Helen of Troy, is imbued, somehow, with Helen’s mystical beauty and erotic life force. The reader is treated to tantalizing glimpses into how this came to be.