May 24, 2012
by Ben Shattuck
It’s hard not to fall in love with ambergris. Here is a solid lump of whale feces, weathered down to something that smells, depending on the piece and whom you’re talking to, like musk, violets, fresh-hewn wood, tobacco, dirt, Brazil nut, fern-copse, damp woods, new-mown hay, seaweed in the sun, the wood of old churches, or pretty much any other sweet-but-earthy scent.
May 24, 2012
But for all its strengths, Home still falls short. This is partly due to its length. The result is a busy cast bursting with potential, but characters who are so hamstrung in their tight confinement, so seldom on the page, that their tales are only half-told.
May 23, 2012
One comes away from Canada feeling as though a less gifted author was trying to write a knock-off of a Richard Ford novel, and has made a hash of it.
May 23, 2012
by Kyle Winkler
Should libraries buy scads of the hottest bestseller? Or should they break themselves upon the rocks of serious scholarship? Cheeseburger in Paradise or Paradise Lost? Perhaps, somewhere in between?
May 22, 2012
by Jesse Jarnow
The 33 1/3 books are books in the deepest possible way, in a manner that seems to grow rarer by the year: the cheap, usable kind of book that might eventually enter circulation at used bookstores and garage sales, making themselves (and their subjects and writers) that much less likely to slip into oblivion.
May 17, 2012
Womanthology in many ways is a signpost for the ongoing evolution of comics over the past several decades. The comics world was for many years comprised of the superhero titles of DC and Marvel, two dominant, fraternal, meticulously run businesses. The key word in that sentence was “fraternal,” for the vast majority of creators working in the majors were men.
May 16, 2012
Dybek isn’t just alluding to Stevenson, but also riffing on Richard II and something of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, while dropping in Japanese auteurs and Greek mythology, to weave in heavily freighted dreams and the vaguely supernatural.
May 11, 2012
by Buzz Poole
Dowlatabadi’s nonlinear episodes jump in time and perspective, a puzzle as fragmented whole as when it is in pieces, an appropriate quality for a book about the shattering of individuals and national identity.
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.