Reviews

September 29, 2014

God and Gab: The Second Sex by Michael Robbins 2

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Michael Robbins is our contemporary poet laureate for beautiful sins of language.

September 29, 2014

The Art of “The Novel” 9

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I am going to try to convince you that The Novel is one of the most important works of both literary history and criticism to be published in the last decade.

September 24, 2014

Scraps of Prayers: On Eimear McBride’s A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing 2

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Yes, this book actually gave me nightmares. And yet I did not want to stop reading it.

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 6

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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 18

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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.