Reviews Archives - The Millions

July 18, 2016

White Lives Matter: On Nancy Isenberg’s ‘White Trash’ 1


Isenberg appears to have decided to write a history of poor white America and then persuaded herself that poor black America was only tangential to her story.

July 15, 2016

Becoming a Tugboat: On Rikki Ducornet’s ‘Brightfellow’ 0


In Brightfellow, Ducornet forces readers to experience the physicality of reading, to feel and taste the act of storytelling.

July 14, 2016

Why Now, Florida Man? On Craig Pittman’s ‘Oh, Florida!’ 0


The ideal Florida Man story involves a woman named Crystal Metheny firing a missile into a car, while a South Florida Man story involves bodybuilding ex-soldiers getting their international Molly ring busted because of a pornstar’s temper tantrum.

June 30, 2016

Remembering the Present: On Chuck Klosterman’s ‘But What if We’re Wrong?’ 15


Klosterman’s conversations with Neil deGrasse Tyson and string theorist Brain Greene prove to be fascinating, if creepy, measured discussions of whether life might be a simulation.

June 22, 2016

Baby and the Book: On Rivka Galchen’s ‘Little Labors’ 1


If novels are investigations into the workings of human existence — shouldn’t a baby, and a baby’s arrival, provide a useful key?

June 20, 2016

Really Bad People: On Sebastian Junger’s ‘Tribe’ 3


Junger’s quick look at violence, trauma, and modern anomie omits important information, and as a result ends up on shaky ground, failing to consider counterpoints or bring its own arguments to a close.

June 20, 2016

Humanizing War: On Mary Roach’s ‘Grunt’ 1


Roach’s writing is kinetic in the sense that it propels its readers forward, maintaining a speed and energy that keeps us turning the page, elongating a state of perpetual curiosity.

June 15, 2016

The Ultimate Intimacy: On Neil Gaiman’s ‘The View from the Cheap Seats’ 0


For Gaiman, the writing memoir is less about how to write and more about why we need writing.

June 13, 2016

Knowledge Porn: On Helen DeWitt’s ‘The Last Samurai’ 11


When Ludo takes his magnificent brain to public school for the first time, and discovers the exquisite agony of being misunderstood by a world of simpletons, I feel like Helen DeWitt “gets” me.

June 7, 2016

Composed of Living Breath: On Svetlana Alexievich’s ‘Secondhand Time’ 2


Alexievich takes the jingoish caricature, the pulp-fiction rogue, the faceless millions of victims of historical record, and restores to them a voice — their own.