April 4, 2013 The young heroine of Rachel Kushner's new book The Flamethrowers negotiates art and revolution from the back of a motorcycle — both the late-1970s art scene in Manhattan and the Italian radical left of the same era. Reviewer Maud Newton says The Flamethrowers has "timeless urgency."
April 20, 2010 The Collected Stories of Deborah Eisenberg combines the writer's four books of short stories into one impressive display of talent. Eisenberg's volume shows a mastery over the art of illustrating human emotion and complexity.
February 26, 2010 The Hypochondriacs, Brian Dillon's book about nine historical figures who battled obsessions and fears about their health, shows how these afflictions bled into the work that defined their careers.
November 11, 2009 For a half-century, the literary journal's interviews, under the banner "The Art of Fiction," have unlocked the mysteries of writing and the eccentricities of writers. Critic Maud Newton reviews a new boxed set, The Paris Review Interviews, Volumes I-IV.
November 5, 2009 In his wide-ranging, expertly curated anthology Becoming Americans, Ilan Stavans collects four centuries of immigrants' stories.
October 5, 2009 Gabriel hasn't spoken to his father since the senior writer's review proclaiming his son's first book a failure. When impending heart surgery reunites the men, generational tensions surface along with WWII-era intrigue in Juan Gabriel Vasquez's inventive and intricately plotted The Informers.
August 28, 2009 Cristina Nehring's A Vindication of Love makes an engaging case for raw attraction — where lust, emotion and intellect converge. Feminism, Nehring argues, has given us innumerable opportunities. Now how about the right to be romantic?
July 15, 2009 Assistant to a celebrity painter, whom she also sleeps with, Emma has stopped making her own art. Written by Jeff Koons' former assistant, The American Painter Emma Dial is a riveting inquiry into the creative impulse and a knowing portrait of the art world.
June 5, 2009 Although her past works have focused on lesbian themes, class anxiety is the animating force behind Sarah Waters' The Little Stranger, a chilling and psychologically layered haunted-house story set in the aftermath of World War II.
May 18, 2009 Sudanese author Tayeb Salih's Season of Migration to the North is an engaging and complicated novel about two men who leave Africa to study in England and afterward belong in neither place. The novel has become a classic of postcolonial literature.
May 1, 2009 Among the previously unpublished writings left behind at Twain's death were squibs, rants and unfinished essays that capture the folksy icon's furious but often repressed compulsion to tell the world what he really thought of its tedious platitudes and received wisdom.
April 29, 2009 Frederick Barthelme's novel Waveland parallels the fate of the town it was named for, which was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. It's about loss — of property, love and family — but also about starting over and, just maybe, building something better this time.
April 17, 2009 It's Kafka meets Stephen King and The Three Stooges in this tale of a young man unwillingly inducted by psychotic clowns into a lethal circus act. Will Elliott's The Pilo Family Circus is a gripping psychological satire.
March 31, 2009 In its painstaking honesty, Brad Gooch's Flannery: A Life of Flannery O'Connor is both a gift and a curse to O'Connor's fans, displaying as it does the racial insensitivity and other flaws of one of America's greatest short-story writers.
February 25, 2009 Kitty Burns Florey's history of penmanship is definitely not an exercise in hand-wringing about handwriting. Her engaging exploration is filtered through her own obsession with handwriting as an act of self-expression.