When was it that I stopped writing confidential and intimate letters? That I had to force myself to write letters at all? I no longer knew. When had the period of the “as if” letters begun—when I had decided to write as if no one was intercepting my mail; as if I was writing freely. . . . Could
You can take the girl out of prison, but you can’t take prison out of the girl. Anne, the nineteen-year-old narrator of Albertine Sarrazin’s Astragal—published in France in 1965 and in the US in 1967, and now reissued by New Directions—has liberated herself from a “prison school” by jumping
Since its publication in 2008, Fiona Maazel’s first novel, Last Last Chance, has won a small and cultlike following, myself included. I love the book because it is constantly surprising—blackly funny but permeated by great sadness, like the fiction of Barry Hannah or Donald Antrim—besides which
Of all the clichés that Hollywood movies have foisted upon their viewing public, one of the most robust is that the glamorous dream machine runs on the fuel of starlets’ blood and agents’ bile and writers’ flop sweat and all the filth that Kenneth Anger could scrape from the gutters of Sunset
What would “late style,” that unholy, messy, and probably overutilized critical category, mean for a writer like William Gass? To turn the sentence around, if William Gass were said to possess a late style—a moment not of well-earned serenity and reconciliation but of what Edward Said
For quite some time now, Mohsin Hamid has been chipping away at the shape of the novel, testing out the ways form, structure, and narration can be manipulated to set in relief the story he wants to tell. In <em style="font-size: 10pt;">Moth Smoke </em>(2000), his debut novel about a banker in Lahore
Amity Gaige's Schroder, her third novel, is a daring book. It tells a suspenseful, economical story that is also a clever act of social commentary. It asks us to empathize with one of the most benighted figures in today's marital hierarchy: the sketchy divorced dad.
In Jamaica Kincaid's novel See Now Then, memories appear and reappear with a hypnotic, furious regularity, and the novel exhausts itself trying to control them—as if stanching a hemorrhage, or cauterizing a wound.
When Anne Carson was a child, she read Lives of the Saints and adored it so much she tried to eat its pages. The Canadian classicist and poet has never lost this desire to merge with the text; if anything, she’s created forms that allow her to eat as many pages as she possibly can. In her translations