Reviews

January 31, 2012

People Are Strange: Diane Williams’ Vicky Swanky Is a Beauty 1

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We can’t escape eccentricity, but we can become habituated to it.

January 30, 2012

Find Myself A City To Live In: Ed Sanders’ Fug You & Will Hermes’ Love Goes To Buildings On Fire 0

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Finding the entrance points to New York’s musical undergrounds has never been quite as simple as decoding MTA maps, though that’s usually the first step. Two excellent new books chart a decade-and-a-half worth of street-level detail, illuminating not only entrance points, but how they were willed into existence.

January 26, 2012

So, Nu?: Shalom Auslander’s Hope: A Tragedy 3

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And therein lies the brilliance of Auslander’s novel: Hope: A Tragedy is about the fact that you can’t escape your own legacy, no matter how great your desire for a better world.

January 24, 2012

Modernity and its Discontents: George Scialabba’s The Modern Predicament 4

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I’m going to wager that George Scialabba is the best political critic you’ve never heard of.

January 19, 2012

The Journey to Planet X: Margaret Atwood’s In Other Worlds 4

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How many have seriously pondered Wonder Woman’s lineage to Diana the Huntress, for example? Or exactly how the superpowers and shortcomings of mythological heroes are conferred on their comic book cousins?

January 19, 2012

Dark Pensées: Fraser Nixon’s The Man Who Killed 2

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Fraser Nixon’s debut novel is a fast, sharp piece of work. Novels with plots and titles like this one are easily filed under crime fiction, but this is one of countless instances where artificial divisions of genre do readers a disservice.

January 17, 2012

Who Needs Plot? Teju Cole’s Open City 3

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Cole has crafted a novel that needs no beginning, middle, or end because it so humbly imagines actual life.

January 17, 2012

Word Flu: Ben Marcus’ The Flame Alphabet 10

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Marcus has managed to craft a story so disturbing that it’s best told with absolute clarity.

January 13, 2012

Faith in Appearances: Don DeLillo’s The Angel Esmeralda 2

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His vision spreads outward, encompassing ever more of the nuances and frequencies of an urbanized West that has maxed out on chatter and distraction. It has to expand like this in order to express the burden of shepherding a lone self through a world of mass-consciousness, ruled by media and money, where terror is the only form of awe that has not been stripped and sold for parts.

January 12, 2012

If You Could Hear A Book, This Is How It Would Look 3

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Chromatic documents a segment of today’s music scene by favoring exciting and important visual examples that contribute to a sensory overload that better represents the music than words or notes ever could on their own.