If you’re reading this review online, you’ve elected to do so instead of looking at baby pictures, porn, or any number of blogs, vlogs, and feeds—a seemingly limitless collection of media and information. It’s shocking what people will put online. Or, strike that, it’s no longer shocking.
The following wedge of prose has two things wrong with it: one big thing and one little thing - one infelicity and one howler. Read it with attention. If you can spot both, then you have what is called a literary ear. ... Craig Martin took an interest in the traces left by prior owners of his land.
Edna O’Brien opens Byron in Love with a simple question: “Why another book on Byron?” The answer comes in the form of a remark by the poet’s friend Lady Blessington, who once referred to Byron as “the most extraordinary and terrifying person” she had ever met. Within a few chapters, the
An air of comical amphetamine dependence pervades Martin Millar’s debut novel, Milk, Sulphate, and Alby Starvation. The protagonist, Alby, is a twenty-six-year-old paranoiac and small-time sulphate (i.e., speed) dealer convinced that both Chinese gangsters and the Milk Marketing Board have contracts
Had she been a celebrity in our Internet era, her scandalous lifestyle would have caused an even greater frenzy. Still, Lady Idina Sackville managed to stir plenty of shock and controversy in the tabloid newspapers of Edwardian England. Charming, intelligent, rich and seductive, Sackville was a
Ron Currie Jr. writes fiction that a Hollywood executive might call high-concept. His first book, God Is Dead (2007), imagines life on earth after God has taken human form—in Darfur, no less—and died. His second novel, Everything Matters!, tells the story of a young man called Junior, born in Maine
Hans Fallada is the romantic nom de plume invented by a man who lived through some of the most difficult episodes in his country's history and came out indifferently, neither a hero nor a villain. "Hans" recalls the Grimms' Lucky Hans, a fairy-tale fool who smiles even as he is cheated; and "Falada"
“Writers love music,” observes Peter Terzian in his introduction to Heavy Rotation: Twenty Writers on the Albums That Changed Their Lives. “A good ear is almost a requirement of the job; the best writing has voice, has rhythm.” Indeed, John Ashbery has spoken of his poetry’s indebtedness to
Sometimes, the soft literary citizens of liberal democracy long for prohibition. Coming up with anything to write about can be difficult when you are allowed to write about anything. A day in which the most arduous choice has been between "grande" and "tall" does not conduce to literary strenuousness.
Multigenerational novels about women often elicit analogies to tapestries—relationships are interwoven, themes are intertwined, and there is much braiding of narrative strands. Let us not likewise domesticate Kate Walbert’s remarkable novel A Short History of Women, which traces five generations back