Post-40 Bloomers

February 13, 2014

Post-40 Bloomers: You’ve Come a Long Way, Lady James 2


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 2


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


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


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


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


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


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


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.

June 10, 2013

In Search of Lost Dream Time: Two New Books by André Aciman 1


If ever there was a writer disappointed with the here and now, it’s André Aciman: “I was never in one place, ever, in my whole life, without thinking of being somewhere else.” The tragedy of feeling out of place and in the wrong time is at the aching heart of his writing, and on grand display in two new books published this year.

May 13, 2013

Just How Far Will She Go? Nicole Wolverton’s The Trajectory of Dreams 5


In The Trajectory of Dreams, Wolverton has created one of the most haunting unreliable narrators I’ve ever come across. She is both deeply sympathetic and extremely dangerous.