Reviews

September 19, 2014

“I Don’t Want to Always Write Stories About the Same Kind of Disaffected, Angsty, Youngish Dude:” On Justin Taylor’s Flings 4

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These stories are loaded with memorable snapshots. But for a writer of Taylor’s wit and intelligence, that’s no longer enough.

September 19, 2014

How Far He Had Fallen: Christos Tsiolkas’s Barracuda 0

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Precisely because it is so gripping, it is possible on first reading not to notice just how skillful it is, how intricate the plot and the successive revelations, how deft the handling of point of view and tense.

September 17, 2014

In Search of Our Voices: On Marina Keegan and The Opposite of Loneliness 1

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The Millennial generation of writers can learn from Keegan in that she allowed herself to sound and to be fully 22, to explore what that meant and to celebrate the value of a young perspective, but never sounded like she was writing a generic think-piece on “What It’s Like to Be Young Today.”

September 16, 2014

Only Disconnect: Ben Lerner’s 10:04 11

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If works of art were about something, instead of existing self-sufficiently for themselves, this is what Lerner’s work would be about: the chasm between a life lived and a thing made; the discouragement one suffers when trying to find one in the other.

September 12, 2014

Ship of Fools: On Laila Lalami’s The Moor’s Account 2

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Lalami eloquently examines the subjectivity of narrative, and the creation and manipulation of the truth.

September 11, 2014

Heart of Darkness: On William Giraldi’s Hold the Dark 0

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Between the many bullets and arrows, Giraldi is also building an examination of evil. This is a new Catholic fiction, one forged in the smithies of writers who reject belief but retain reverence for religious language.

September 10, 2014

Her Body, Herself: On Dylan Landis’s Rainey Royal 0

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There are the makings of an explosive novel here, but Landis, having set the bomb in place and struck the match, declines to light the fuse.

September 2, 2014

Women in Clothes: A Collaborative Endeavor 0

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If fashion is divisive, then literature may be the opposite. It creates camaraderie.

September 2, 2014

In the Edges of the Maps: David Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks 2

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There is a moment where Mitchell reaches right into your chest, puts his fingers on your heart, and presses down.

August 29, 2014

Last Words: On Michael Hastings’s The Last Magazine: A Novel 4

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There was a certain buzz in the air before Michael Hastings’s The Last Magazine was published. His personal story, in fact, is the stuff that good fiction is made of. A prominent journalist, he died just over a year ago in a single-vehicle crash in the hours before dawn, triggering speculation that he had been murdered.