Reading The Three Weissmanns of Westport, the new novel by Cathleen Schine, is a curious experience. Even as you turn the pages, following the genteel misadventures of the titular clan—the aging mother, Betty Weissmann, and her two middle-aged, lovelorn daughters, Annie and Miranda—the book seems
We all tell ourselves lies at some point or another to soothe our social anxieties, our awkwardness. "He's not staring at me because my dress is totally inappropriate for this party, it's because he's overwhelmed with desire." Or the favorite of mothers comforting their bullied junior high school
If ever you have reason to step out of an airport in Peru, Kenya, or another of the places in Ted Conover's latest book of reportage, you will preserve your life by following one simple procedure. Ignore the scrum of eager cab drivers at the door and instead proceed to the edge of the parking lot.
The incantatory and deceptive powers of storytelling have always been central to Peter Straub's novels. From the quartet of aging, dissembling raconteurs in Ghost Story (1979) to the lurid pageantry and masques of Shadowland (1980), Straub artfully layers and arranges smaller stories to construct
The economy and its discontents can be an anemic topic for literary fiction, and Adam Haslett struggles with this challenge in his debut novel about banking disaster, Union Atlantic. The disaster in question involves "rogue trading" in Japan that threatens to annihilate an entire Boston-based financial
Gilbert Sorrentino's last novel, The Abyss of Human Illusion, perfects a technique a decade in the making. In 1997 a story called "Sample Writing Sample" presented literary anecdotes followed by extracurricular endnotes; in 2002 Little Casino, a novel of skewed beauty, featured similar episodes,
The title story of T. Coraghessan Boyle's new collection, Wild Child, is a fictional retelling of the life of Victor, the Wild Boy of Aveyron, born to a peasant family in revolutionary France under an unhappy star. His early hindrances include muteness, a "lax" mind and an unsympathetic stepmother,
A Common Pornography is neither common nor, by today's standards, pornographic. It is more accurate to call Kevin Sampsell's fragmented, moving memoir a Bildungsroman (albiet a true one). More precisely, for those keeping score at home with their glossary of literary terms, it is a nonfiction