January 15, 2013

Why Are We Still Reading About Vietnam? Kill Anything That Moves by Nick Turse 6


Kill Anything That Moves should be required reading in every school, military academy and governmental office in the land. Not that it will stop us from blundering into the next war.

January 11, 2013

Woes of the Posthumous Novel: On Roberto Bolaño’s Latest 9


The fragmentation, self-plagiarism, and lack of narrative development all indicate a manuscript that was very much unfinished, and is only interesting as a completist curiosity, something akin to the financial-driven posthumous discographies of Jimi Hendrix or Tupac Shakur.

January 4, 2013

The Adulatory Biographer: On Richard Bradford’s Martin Amis 5


Bradford’s first two sentences do an excellent job of establishing his book’s tone: awkward, overblown, imprecise.

December 27, 2012

How Charles Portis Got Made: On Escape Velocity 10


Here lies the key to Portis’s success as a novelist: he feels tremendous tenderness for every one of his characters, like the forbearing father of some unruly but loveable brood.

December 26, 2012

In A Far Off Land: Emma Donoghue’s Astray 2


Donoghue throws the windows of the world open in fourteen stories of wanderlust, exploration, and possibilities promised by new and unknown lands.

November 30, 2012

The Art of Being The Boss: On Peter Ames Carlin’s Bruce 1


While Bruce is too often a workmanlike affair, one comes away from this new Springsteen biography happy that its author had the good sense to get out of the way and just let Bruce be Bruce.

November 30, 2012

A Sensitive Meatball: On Kurt Vonnegut’s Letters 4


Reading these letters, it seemed like Kurt Vonnegut’s biggest obstacle to happiness was Kurt Vonnegut.

November 29, 2012

Only So Many Words Remain: On Alice Munro’s Dear Life 3


Growing old has, like a trip through a difficult country, endowed Munro with all manner of new information, and she has begun to file her dispatches.

November 27, 2012

Invisible Borders: Mohsin Hamid’s Moth Smoke 0


Hamid’s first novel, recently re-released, was published not long after Pakistan tested its first nuclear weapons, and the arms race between Pakistan and India form the jittery backdrop to a harrowing story of a man’s descent.

November 26, 2012

The Mad Girls Next Door: Mary Stewart Atwell’s Wild Girls 0


It’s hard to resist a story of girls gone bad.