Reviews Archives - Page 30 of 81 - The Millions

May 21, 2013

At the Frontiers of the Unsayable: Bennett Sims’s A Questionable Shape 4

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There may be readers who will — on discovering that A Questionable Shape combines a quest, a romance, humor, and an epidemic of zombies, with philosophy, footnotes, history, science, the arts, half of Daniel Webster, cascades of lyricism and truckloads of realism — refuse to so much as open the back cover. I wish they would rethink their decision.

May 16, 2013

The Museum of Unhappy Women: Z by Therese Anne Fowler 2

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Paradoxically, this is the reason to write and read about Zelda, because she deserved a life much more interesting than the one that she got. Interesting to her, that is, a life she could have given her energy and talents to, not just a life made interesting by famous friends and European capitals.

May 16, 2013

Up Shit Creek, Sans Paddle: On David Waltner-Toews’s The Origin of Feces 2

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The Origins of Feces is a genial book, and often a kick to read, but I put it down thinking two things: 1. I will never look at shit the same way again; and 2. We are in deep shit.

May 14, 2013

War is Just Business: John le Carré’s A Delicate Truth 4

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There are moments when the machinery of plot grinds a little too obviously, but Le Carré remains formidable. Here, as elsewhere in his body of work, Le Carré proves himself a master of character development.

May 14, 2013

An Education in Economics and Love: A. Igoni Barrett’s Love Is Power, Or Something Like That 1

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Betrayals drive many of Barrett’s stories, but he takes pains to illuminate the love beneath them.

May 9, 2013

Sing It, Sister! On Meg Wolitzer’s The Interestings 17

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As I read its final lines, declarative and profound and true, I felt mournful. The book — this book! — was over. I closed the novel and wondered if I could write a book this big, this ballsy. I imagined Ms. Wolitzer behind an imposing mahogany desk, quill in hand. “Why not?” she said to me, and smiled. Yes, why not?

May 7, 2013

Making Things Is Hard Work: Janet Malcolm’s Forty-One False Starts 2

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A fair amount of writing about artists is premised on the idea that they are better or worse or more generous or brutish or attuned to the subtle vibrations of the universe than the rest of us. Malcolm doesn’t seem to think so, and it’s very refreshing.

May 2, 2013

James Salter’s All That Is: From Dream to Reality 3

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This is not George Saunders or Lorrie Moore making fun of the ineffectualness of romantic impulses; this is for real.

April 30, 2013

Ivy League from the Outside: Andre Aciman’s Harvard Square 1

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It’s interesting that so few narratives about Harvard have ever been told from the non-elite, unassimilated experience. Such a void is, finally and wonderfully, filled by Andre Aciman’s brilliant new novel.

April 12, 2013

Alienation for Two: Fiona Maazel’s Woke Up Lonely 0

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As I lost myself in Maazel’s gorgeous, dryly comic prose, it made me wonder about all the great love songs of the past: do we not write songs about the ones that come easy? Or do we hope that in capturing loneliness, as Maazel does so very well, we can better understand it, face it, and appreciate its possibilities?