Racial identity and aesthetics may not spell fun to most, and poems about those topics even less so. But a strong sense of play infuses Thomas Sayers Ellis's Skin, Inc.: Identity Repair Poems. This is a poet who can use the same word eight times in a single stanza without sounding redundant: "coloring
It is no accident that the prologue to David Grossman's new novel, To the End of the Land, takes place in a fever ward. As the stories unfold, the reader discovers that fever is not just a symptom of physical illness. It becomes a description of the existential state of Israel.
Everything you think you know about James Frey is wrong. You're wrong about Eliot Spitzer, too, and Linda Tripp, and any number of those nutty and libidinous rogues in our public pillories. According to Laura Kipnis's coruscating new study of scandal, what we talk about when we talk about transgression
James Ellroy is nothing if not self-aware. Throughout his career, the pulp-crime master has spared himself no quarter, cultivating an alarmingly frank public persona as a creep and a curmudgeon, a speed freak and shoplifter–turned–snarling and sober sexual obsessive. In his new memoir, The Hilliker
"An old crappy dyke with half a brain leaking a book." That's how Eileen Myles describes herself in her autobiographical new novel, and it makes me think of Susan Sontag's journals, in which the late writer anguishes about a phenomenon she calls "leakage": "my mind is dribbling out through my mouth."
"At twenty-six, Karl Floor had had a hard life: father dead, mother dead, stepdad sick and mean, siblings none, friends none, foes so offhanded in their molestations that they did not make a crisp enough focal point for his energies." This is the first sentence of You Were Wrong, Matthew Sharpe's
The narrator of Emma Donoghue's "Room" is a 5-year-old boy who leads a busy life. "We have thousands of things to do every morning," Jack tells the reader, and he seems to mean it. Jack is a smart, eager kid with a great imagination and unlimited energy. But he and his mother have been trapped in
The fat kid who plays the French horn. The mentally stunted drug dealer. The suck-up, runner-up for valedictorian. The boy who lights his fart into "a magnificent plume of flame...a cold and beautiful enchantment that for an instant bathes the locker room in unearthly light." These are a few typical
Tom McCarthy's novel Remainder, published in 2007, is a work of clean and seamless guile. There's no messy and cumbersome interiority, no ruminating, no sociopolitical context, nor much context at all. Just a contemporary city (London), rendered soberly by an unnamed narrator with a metaphysical
During Kristin Hersh's mid-1980s salad days as a teenage musician in New England, the very notion of rock stardom was being drastically revised. Early on in her new memoir of that period, Rat Girl, her father—an affable hippie-cum-professor nicknamed Dude—gives her a guitar lesson. I didn't like