Halfway through Tim Lawrence’s “Life and Death on the New York Dance Floor: 1980-1983,” a six-hundred-page book about four years in the life of a dozen New York City clubs, there’s a short chapter called “Shrouded Abatements and Mysterious...Show More Summary
This was floating around social media yesterday, so I thought I’d share it here. 17 short books I stand behind absolutely. Reconsolidation by Janice Lee. One of the most beautiful, touching, and profound lyric essays I’ve read in a long time. An inspiration while I was writing The Surrender. The Mirror in the Well by Continue Reading
The first Newman Prize for Chinese Literature went to Sandalwood Death-author Mo Yan in 2009 -- three years before he won the Nobel Prize -- and the four others who have gone on to win this biennial author-prize are pretty impressive...Show More Summary
The (Canadian) Scotiabank Giller Prize has announced its six-title shortlist; the winner of the C$100,000 prize will be announced 7 November.
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Spanish author David Trueba's Blitz, just out from Other Press.
The ballad is a form that can easily sound antiquated and sing-song on the page. This is, of course, because “sing-song” isn’t a negative descriptor when describing actual song, and ballads are, indeed, songs. On-the-nose rhyme (knee, three; fall, ball),… Continue reading ?
I laughed in recognition at the very first sentence of Jamie Zvirzdin’s lecture: “It is no secret that science writing is often abysmally inaccessible, even for the initiated—like a bizarre ancient ritual that even its most faithful modern practitioners don’t… Continue reading ?
Five hundred years ago, a man who condoned torture, religious persecution, and burning at the stake wrote a book about the perfect world. In “On the Best Kind of a Republic and About the New Island of Utopia” (the book’s full title,Show More Summary
All crime novels are social novels. They can’t help it; without a society to define, condemn, and punish it, crime itself wouldn’t exist. Even the detective fiction that seems most untethered from real-world concerns—those British country-house...Show More Summary
When you first sent me your story “To the Moon and Back,” you mentioned that it had been written in response to a political incident. Last March, an Israeli soldier shot in the head a Palestinian terrorist who was already incapacitated, killing him. Show More Summary
David Hare's The Red Barn, his adaptation of Georges Simenon's La main, opens at the National Theatre on 6 October -- see also the Faber publicity page, or pre-order your copy at Amazon.co.uk -- and in The Observer he has a nice piece...Show More Summary
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Pascal Garnier's The Eskimo Solution, an early one from when he made the transition from kids' book author to something more creepily adult -- as does his protagonist in this one.
I think I really began to like this Trump fellow when he tore his coat off, dived into a raging river, and saved a drowning woman after she’d been flung from a train wreck.
They've announced the winner of this year's prix Sade. French literary prizes generally have a poor-to-non-existent web presence, but even here the prix Sade stands out in taking the worst approach imaginable: solely having a 'Facebook'...Show More Summary
I'm a few days late with this, but they've announced the longlist for the Cundill Prize in Historical Literature, a Canadian prize that nevertheless pays out in US dollars -- a tidy 75,000 to the winning author. A manageable longlist...Show More Summary
The world lost a true bookman of the highest order on Thursday. Through his bookselling and publishing firms Oak Knoll Books & Press, Bob Fleck labored tirelessly over the last forty years to make important works of bibliographical and book-historical scholarship available to readers, scholars, and collectors. Show More Summary
I’m a little over halfway through Mario Vargas Llosa’s Conversation in the Cathedral and thought I would drop in with some thoughts and observations. This is a major early work for Vargas Llosa, his third novel (written when he was 33) and running to about 600 pages. Published in 1969, it grapples with what was Continue Reading
Previous winners of the relatively new South Korean author prize, the Pak Kyong Ni Prize, include Amos Oz (last year), Marilynne Robinson (2013), and Lyudmila Ulitskaya (2012), and they've now announced that this year's winner of the 100 million won (ca. Show More Summary
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Estonian author Rein Raud's The Brother, just out in English from Open Letter. A nice little novel that deserves some/more attention.
“The Bestseller Code,” a new book in which Jodie Archer and Matthew L. Jockers present an algorithm for detecting the sales potential of other books, has, not surprisingly, a commercially canny title. “The Da Vinci Code,” after all, has sold more than eighty million copies. Show More Summary