Reviews Archives - The Millions

April 26, 2017

Fiction’s No Stranger: On Doree Shafrir’s ‘Startup’ 0


Art imitates life in tech, but novels give us one precious advantage over reality: the time to reflect on what we’re consuming.

April 25, 2017

Tiny Shudders: On Elizabeth Strout’s ‘Anything Is Possible’ 0


Strout’s genius is her ability to wring deeply moving stories from ungenerous sources; to reveal, through hurried gestures and single syllables, the welter of feeling the Lydias and Olives of the world are trying to conceal.

April 21, 2017

Rising Waters: On Omar El Akkad’s ‘American War’ 11


El Akkad deploys a subtle critique of torture as not only immoral, but ineffective — and a direct critique of the Bush administration’s embrace of torture and Donald Trump’s lurid flirtation with it.

April 20, 2017

The Sexless Idiot 0


At a time when sex is the starting point rather than the goal of most romantic relationships, we don’t have a rich phrasebook for understanding why two seemingly interested people fail at step one.

April 12, 2017

Transforming Florida: On Sarah Gerard’s ‘Sunshine State’ 2


Gerard’s writing has been described as “unflinching,” but perhaps the better terms are “generous” and “patient.” Her patience is what gets her close enough to her subjects that she can round them out, exhibit their complexities, and her generosity is what keeps her from mocking them.

April 7, 2017

Artistic Revolution: On China Miéville’s ‘The Last Days of New Paris’ 2


The Last Days of New Paris calls for a revolt in art rather than a revolt in politics, for integrating politics into art rather than employing art as a means to political ends.

March 29, 2017

Limits of the Soul: On Domenico Starnone’s ‘Ties’ 0


One lays down Starnone’s novel in the end almost exhausted at what the form can still do to us.

March 27, 2017

Managed Discontents vs. Unimaginable Misery: On ‘A Line Made by Walking’ 1


A Line Made by Walking has the unusual quality of documenting Frankie’s descent into depression and yet celebrating aspects of life taken for granted.

March 15, 2017

Some Necessary French Pessimism 2


It’s the most stylistically courageous, entertaining dystopian novel in recent memory.

March 14, 2017

Elif Batuman Has Learned Nothing at All: On ‘The Idiot’ 1


The layered truths and fictions of The Idiot compounded so that everything in the novel became true and real in a deep, shining way that cannot be achieved through essays.