Staff Picks

August 31, 2015

How the Brain Forgets: On Penelope Farmer’s ‘Charlotte Sometimes’ 0


I recommend Charlotte Sometimes wholeheartedly, and for those of you who may have read it as a child, I recommend returning to it, if only because rereading is one of the only forms of time travel available to us. What seems forgotten is only waiting to be rediscovered.

February 18, 2015

Nothing But a Hound Dog: Mikheil’s Javakhishvili’s ‘Kvachi’ 4


The novel, which began as a series of sketches, hurtles from one of Kvachi’s scams, scrapes, or seductions to the next, pausing every so often to drive home the monstrosity of its hero.

February 2, 2015

Gone in Thirty Seconds: On Michael J. Arlen’s Advertising Drama 0


The N.W. Ayer advertising agency came up with AT&T’s “Reach Out” campaign and its accompanying ditty, which melodically encouraged both telephone users and subway gropers to “Reach out, reach out, and touch someone!”

July 10, 2014

The Scourge of the Peloton: On Tim Krabbé’s The Rider 0


In honor of the Tour de France, taking to the couch with Tim Krabbé’s sports classic.

May 28, 2014

Into the Sublime: On Geoff Dyer’s Another Great Day at Sea 0


A unique and compelling stylist, and a charming reporter, Dyer seems to have an absolute bang-up time on this assignment, and it’s a pleasure to go along with him.

February 12, 2014

Plotted in Technicolor: On Mark Haskell Smith’s Raw 0


One particular image from Baked by Mark Haskell Smith persists in my memory. There is bondage involved. And testicle shaving. It was with this in mind that I began Smith’s new novel, Raw: A Love Story. I hoped to find that same ribald humor, not to mention a few delightful plot twists. I wasn’t disappointed.

July 24, 2013

Lost Worlds: On Stephanie Vaughn’s Sweet Talk 2


There is ambivalence toward authority throughout Sweet Talk, something more than the usual coming-of-age disillusionment, as Gemma confronts the dark side of military culture. It’s an ambivalence that feels especially relevant now, as Americans look back on a decade of war overseas.

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 28, 2013

Video Games Are a Metaphor for Life: Austin Grossman’s You 4


I like listening to people talk about video games. Not those conversations about who scored a sick no-scope head shot, or which character’s passive ability allows them to farm the most efficiently, mind you, but about why video games can be meaningful and why they matter.

April 15, 2013

James Ross’s They Don’t Dance Much Returns From the Grave. Again. 3


Read this dark dirty lovely country-noir masterpiece already.