Reviews

August 5, 2011

A Surrealist’s Guide: Christopher Boucher’s How To Keep Your Volkswagen Alive 3

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Christopher Boucher’s strange and dazzling debut novel concerns a young man whose girlfriend gives birth to a 1971 Volkswagen Beetle.

July 29, 2011

A Thousand and One Knights: George R.R. Martin’s A Dance with Dragons 12

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Seabiscuit wasn’t about a horse. You don’t have to like football to love Friday Night Lights. A great narrative is great in any genre, and A Song of Ice and Fire is perhaps the most compelling, fully realized narrative in modern literature.

July 25, 2011

Edouard Levé’s ‘Suicide’ and Edouard Levé’s Suicide 4

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To write a book about a suicide, to call it Suicide, and to then take your own life before its publication is, whatever else it is, a way of exerting an overpowering influence over how that work is received.

July 22, 2011

The Second Life of Irmgard Keun 6

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The German novelist Irmgard Keun’s life was the stuff of fiction: she was a best-selling debut novelist at twenty-six, published a second bestseller a year later, was blacklisted by the Nazi regime and in exile by the spring of 1936. She was possessed of a spectacular talent. She managed to convey the political horrors she lived through with the lightest possible touch, even flashes of humor.

July 20, 2011

What Ever Happened to the New Atheism? 26

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Five years ago, Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens launched a jihad against religion. But their colleague A.C. Grayling’s new “Humanist Bible” suggests something surprising: maybe the quarrel wasn’t really with God after all.

July 15, 2011

Homecoming: Meg Mitchell Moore’s The Arrivals 1

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It’s not the large problems that drive The Arrivals but the small ones—Mitchell’s meticulous attention to detail and the vibrancy with which she portrays the complex emotions of family life.

July 14, 2011

On Coincidence, Constraints, and Matthew Stadler’s Cover Novel 3

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“A good cover is both a tribute to the original and its own new song.”

July 13, 2011

To Jobs that Pay the Rent: Blue Collar, White Collar, No Collar 1

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What we do with our time is an essential expression of who we are and who we hope to be. The multitudes of working life are beautifully chronicled in this anthology of short stories edited by Richard Ford.

July 11, 2011

The Agony and the Agony: Suzanne Rivecca’s Death is Not an Option 1

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Something has gone terribly wrong.