Reviews

May 27, 2011

Zoo York Revisited: T.J. English’s The Savage City 3

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In March 1986, my first winter in New York, I was mugged in a deserted parking lot a few blocks north of Madison Square Park while coming home from a party downtown. It’s a funny story, actually.

May 26, 2011

Under Water: Johanna Skibsrud’s The Sentimentalists 0

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The story that surrounds Johanna Skibsrud’s first novel is captivating. The Sentimentalists, published by Canada’s tiny Gaspereau Press in an initial print run of 800, was the surprise winner of the 2010 Scotiabank Giller Prize. And yet hype, of course, is a double-edged sword.

May 19, 2011

Working the Wound: Meghan O’Rourke’s The Long Goodbye 1

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I read this book in batches, putting it out of my reach until I could bring myself to pick it up again. I ran scared from this book, not because I didn’t think it would be worth reading, but because when I read it, I unraveled.

May 18, 2011

Non Sequitur ad Absurdum: David Thorne’s The Internet is a Playground 4

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If there is an enduring truth revealed by the internet, it is that the world only seems to make sense when you filter most of it out.

May 13, 2011

I Was A Teenage Grave Robber: Daniel Kraus’s Rotters 0

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Lest you fail to detect the skeleton of historical fact that gives shape to Daniel Kraus’s unsettling, baroque, and surpassingly lurid new young adult novel, Rotters, I begin this review with a short history of the resurrection men, vulgarly referred to as grave robbers or body snatchers.

May 13, 2011

Unhappy Trails: Deb Olin Unferth’s Revolution 3

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There are a lot of reasons to write a memoir and one of them is to give yourself the chance to live history again, this time with all the events that matter solidly under your control.

May 12, 2011

Mad, Mad World: Jon Ronson’s The Psychopath Test 7

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With 40 being the highest score, the psychopath range starts in the mid-20s, but really, I don’t want you feeding my cat if you get more than 10 (although, to be frank, I just gave my cat a 22).

May 4, 2011

Fountain of Youth: Umberto Eco’s Confessions of a Young Novelist 2

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The fruits of Eco’s semiotic detective work are presented so clearly as to become Confessions‘s most fascinating revelations.

May 4, 2011

Albania the Beautiful: Francine Prose’s My New American Life 4

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Prose sets up a subtle compare and contrast between America and Albania (there’s more in common than at first blush, especially during the Bush years, when the story takes place).

May 3, 2011

Darkness to Light: Alexandra Styron’s Reading My Father 1

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Like many nurtured in the penumbra of genius, Alexandra Styron got a good story out of her privations.