Reviews Archives - The Millions

February 17, 2017

In Sickness and in Health: Mike Scalise and the Illness Narrative 0

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Scalise aligns himself with many other writers of illness narratives who understand that, although their disease may be horrible, it also confers a sense of uniqueness and individuality on the sufferer, at least temporarily.

February 13, 2017

In the Between: ‘Lincoln in the Bardo’ 0

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Reading Lincoln in the Bardo is its own kind of bardo.

February 9, 2017

British Godlings: On Neil Gaiman’s Novellas 0

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Both narratives are works of fantasy, firmly rooted in Gaiman’s American Gods universe, but the most profound difference is their emphasis within this genre: the combination of fantasy with horror in The Monarch of the Glen and fantasy with mystery in Black Dog.

February 9, 2017

The Best Snow Story Ever 3

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Gass began writing the story “to entertain a toothache.” That’s an appropriate anecdote. A philosopher by training and a critic by practice, Gass has always been in love with language. Words are his God.

February 8, 2017

A Citizen of War: On Malik Sajad’s ‘Munnu: A Boy From Kashmir’ 0

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Sajad is unsettlingly blunt about the brutality of army personnel in Srinagar, doing away with the idealism that mars debates in suburban Indian homes, often shaped by news channels, where sensationalists run amok, and Bollywood, which would rather engage in melodrama and merrymaking.

February 2, 2017

A Classic Nightmare: On Emily Fridlund’s ‘History of Wolves’ 0

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The story returns to its most painful material and plunges us into a moment-by-moment experience of the self-delusions, complicity, and failures of nerve and understanding that lead to disaster.

January 30, 2017

Sentimental and Manipulative: On Jonathan Safran Foer’s ‘Here I Am’ 45

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In spite of Foer’s issues, in spite of the flaws wounding Here I Am, in spite of the fact that it’s at least 100 pages longer than it needs to be, when I closed the book for the last time, I was genuinely moved.

January 18, 2017

The Way Individuals Survive: On Jen George’s ‘The Babysitter at Rest’ 0

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George’s frank dystopias do not rely on beauty or brutality or humanistic appeals to sell themselves. Just a vision and a ghoulish sense of humor.

January 17, 2017

A Tree That Is All Branches: On Rachel Cusk’s ‘Transit’ 2

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The peripheral narrative construction of Transit — the feints and evasions and elisions — is finally peripheral to the central pleasure: spending time with the book’s animating intelligence.

January 12, 2017

Bridge Life: On André Aciman’s ‘Enigma Variations’ 0

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Depth, not breadth, is the treasure, and grasping after the ungraspable present becomes the point of the quest itself.