June 5, 2014

Celebration Capitalism: On the World Cup and Brazil’s Dance with the Devil 0


Zirin asserts that large-scale events like the Olympics and the World Cup offer countries like Brazil the perfect opportunity to install neoliberal economic policies that their publics would otherwise never authorize.

June 4, 2014

Just a Taste of the Kingdom: Gonçalo M. Tavares’s A Man: Klaus Klump 1


Tavares, with language uncorrupted by sentiment and attachment, is in search of the secret order of mankind.

June 3, 2014

Keep the Laurus Nobilis Flying: Edward St. Aubyn’s Lost for Words 5


The Booker shortlist and the eventual winners have been decried for being too populist, too elitist, too imperialist, too predictable. Edward St. Aubyn’s new novel, Lost for Words, is a briskly readable satire on the annual circus.

June 2, 2014

The Past Will Never Be Past: On A Detroit Anthology 3


But the thing I wanted to do with this anthology was get past the stance that we’re going to explain this city. I wanted to get the candid conversations Detroiters have with other Detroiters — diverse and true and candid conversations people have at a dinner table or in a bar.

May 13, 2014

Nathaniel P. Gets the Fanfic Treatment: On Adelle Waldman’s “New Year’s” 2


Everyone has had a close relationship that works better as a friendship than as a romance, and at some half-drunken moment of intimacy, everyone has wondered why. “New Year’s” seems a story poised to answer this very human question, and then, for some reason, it simply doesn’t.

May 13, 2014

Lee Zacharias Writes Again: On The Only Sounds We Make 1


“We are all just passing through,” Zacharias reminds us. “It is what we remember of the journey that we possess.”

May 12, 2014

The Other Kind of Country People: On Katherine Faw Morris’s Young God 0


Young God is a strong entry in the tradition of the Southern Gothic Novel (redneck noir subcategory), but, while reading it and after watching True Detective, I began to wonder if the genre still has any explanatory power for contemporary America.

May 6, 2014

What To Expect When 30 Women Write About Giving Birth: On Labor Day: True Birth Stories by Today’s Best Women Writers 0


There’s nothing watered-down about the stories in this volume: they are blunt, wistful, confessional, wise, loving, sorrowful, witty and sometimes eerie.

April 30, 2014

Meanwhile, in a Dark Forest: On Jonas T. Bengtsson’s A Fairy Tale 0


A Fairy Tale is a fascinating and often brutal meditation on alienation and trauma. “What separates man from any other species,” Peter’s father told him one evening, before it all came undone, “is his ability to adapt.” But in A Fairy Tale, adaptation is precisely the problem.

April 24, 2014

Undomesticated: On Joan Chase’s During the Reign of the Queen of Persia 2


One reason that Joan Chase has slipped into obscurity, while her rough contemporaries Robinson, Mason, and Mantel have ascended, is the relative infrequency with which she publishes.