May 8, 2012
by Noah Stayton
I had set out to review Jonathan Franzen’s newest release with only one goal in mind — “Do Not Mention David Foster Wallace.” Imagine reading an article about Eric Clapton in which the name “Jimi Hendrix” appears only for the sake of providing a sense of scale and equivalence. “Needless,” I would say. Or so I thought.
May 3, 2012
In this five-volume biography, Caro is trying to write the epic poem of The American Century, with tall, jug-eared, foul-mouthed LBJ as his flawed tragic hero.
April 20, 2012
While the novel is able to imagine decadence turned violent, disaffection seems somehow outside its range, leaving its satire of consumerism poorer as a result.
April 19, 2012
by Greg Gerke
No one has written a better introduction to Gass’s fiction than he does here, laying out why he wrote his magnum opus in one stark sentence: “I wrote The Tunnel out of the conviction that no race or nation is better than any other, and no nation or race is worse.”
April 9, 2012
by David Rice
A has-been LA novelist and current late nite radio host sits down with his newly adopted Ethiopian daughter to watch Obama win the presidency. He gets to thinking that at last the evaporated dream of the 60s – and the guiding dream of his life – has been fulfilled. The rest of the novel follows the myriad ways in which this turns out not to be the case.
April 6, 2012
by Philip Eil
What Brown wanted to do was lay down a strutting, macho anthem marked by explosions of brass and a guitar that sounds like chrome wheels spinning. He hums a melody to the sax player and a bass line to the bassist. He thumps out a beat for the drummer. He watches a trumpet player struggle, fires him, then re-hires him moments later. And when the singer is ready, he screams out a set of lyrics scratched on a sheet of paper. The song is called “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag.”
April 5, 2012
by Zach Pontz
What is clear from reading these interviews is that, while the 20th century has not be kind to Iran, it has been particularly difficult for Iranian poets, writers, and intellectuals looking to articulate the problems of their homeland.
March 30, 2012
Ullman has ushered in a fecund new phase of Holocaust fiction. It is not only necessary that we try to recapture the morally-starved world of the actual Holocaust, but that we take up the question of how much that bleak history should define our present-day lives.
March 29, 2012
by John Lingan
I opened the book and found that to read Joe Brainard is to befriend him. The Collected Writings is like a manual for how to live more creatively. It bubbles over with deeply personal vision and a contagious passion for the smallest things in life — what Brainard calls “my faith that everything is interesting, sooner or later.”
March 27, 2012
To say The Lifespan of a Fact is mostly boring is a bit like saying that a Molotov cocktail is mostly boring because it’s just a bottle of petrol with an old rag stuffed into it.