all (296)

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Criss Cross
Wonderfully written, and a rare example of the omniscient mode in middle-grade/YA fiction, where first-person point of view has been king in recent ye ...more
Apr 12, 2012
Apr 15, 2012
The Fortress of Solitude
Now that I've read this book, I share Lethem's amazement that James Wood reviewed it without mentioning the magic ring. Though the ring vanishes for l ...more
Sep 28, 2013
Sep 28, 2013
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World
Pay attention to the paperclips; this is my first suggestion for the reader of Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World. Two story-lines run th ...more
Oct 23, 2013
Nov 23, 2013
Six Memos for the Next Millennium
Lightness, Quickness, Exactitude, Visibility, and Multiplicity are the five memos Calvino completed for the 1985-86 Charles Eliot Norton Lectures at H ...more
Jun 20, 2013
Jun 18, 2013
Summer Rain
Though I preferred Duras's The Lover, this book also has its aloof, chilly pleasures. Chilly and aloof because Duras keeps the psychic distance (intim ...more
Jul 09, 2013
Jul 10, 2013
Bigger than a Bread Box
Rebecca Shapiro is 12, lives in Baltimore with her parents and younger brother Lew (2), and is working on her math homework when the lights blink off ...more
Dec 29, 2012
Dec 29, 2012
David Lodge is the author of a collection of essays, titled The Art of Fiction, that is one of my favorite guides to writing. Here, in Therapy, he tur ...more
Feb 25, 2012
Feb 26, 2012
A Passage to India
Forster has perhaps the lightest hand when it comes to the omniscient point of view. This plus the amused, witty tone of his voice in part accounts fo ...more
Jul 17, 2013
Jul 15, 2013
The Ecstasy of Influence: Nonfictions, Etc.
Lethem divides his collection into ten sections: My Plan To Begin With; Dick, Calvino, Ballard: SF and Postmodernism; Plagiarisms; Film and Comics; Wa ...more
Apr 26, 2013
Apr 13, 2013
Farewell, My Lovely (Philip Marlowe, #2)
Chandler has this wonderful way of tossing seemingly unrelated incidents or even cases in Marlowe's path and slowly showing his tenacious detective fi ...more
May 26, 2013
May 31, 2013
Letters and Drawings of Bruno Schulz
Fascinating correspondence between Schulz and other members of Eastern Europe's artistic society, shadowed by the oncoming disaster of World War II: s ...more
Mar 25, 2012
Mar 26, 2012
The Cellist of Sarajevo
Galloway uses four first-person points-of-view--the Cellist, Arrow, Kenan, and Dragan--to tell this story of the 1992-1996 siege of Sarajevo. The cell ...more
Jan 29, 2017
Jan 27, 2017
Inherent Vice
Pynchon's take on the hard-boiled detective genre is appropriately Pynchonesque in all the right ways. The protagonist-detective, Larry "Doc" Sportell ...more
Jun 08, 2013
Jun 10, 2013
The Year of Magical Thinking
Didion brings her clear prose to bear on her own grief and mourning. In late 2003, her daughter was placed in an induced coma after going into septic ...more
Mar 06, 2017
Mar 03, 2017
The History Of Luminous Motion
Lyrical, sharp, beautiful writing in the service of a disturbing story. Bradfield takes the risk of stretching the voice of his eight-year-old point o ...more
Oct 16, 2012
Jan 16, 2012
Howards End
The light, agile tone of Forster's narration is breathtaking, but don't mistake lightness of tone for slightness of purpose: Howard's End has emotiona ...more
Aug 11, 2013
Aug 05, 2013
The Best American Essays 2013
I have some brief notes on several of the essays here, though I enjoyed them all to varying degrees. "His Last Game" is, I think, my favorite.

"The Gir
Feb 27, 2014
Feb 17, 2014
Penny Dreadful
Ten-year-old Penelope Grey lives in a mansion in the city with her parents but is bored. Two wishes made in the family wishing well seem to move the p ...more
Dec 27, 2012
Dec 26, 2012
In the Lake of the Woods
O'Brien writes this novel in the form of nonfiction, specifically investigative journalism--the narrator/journalist is writing the story of John Wade, ...more
Jan 21, 2017
Jan 21, 2017
Gods Without Men
The title comes from Balzac's 1830 short story, "Une Passion dans le desert": "Dans le desert, voyez-vous, il y a tout, et il n'y a rien...c'est dieu ...more
Jul 22, 2015
Jul 23, 2015
From Fiona Maazel's NYT Book Review of Steve Ericsson's new novel, Shadowbahn, comes this extraordinary description of a song, "O Superman," that I've ...more
not set
Feb 10, 2017
Her Fearful Symmetry
Niffenegger makes excellent use of her Highgate Cemetery setting, which comes complete with a small green door in the wall separating cemetery from th ...more
Jun 2017
May 28, 2017
Sixty Stories
You wouldn't think to find a heart beneath the glittering surface of such postmodern stories, would you? Yet there it is. In part, this unexpected gif ...more
Jun 03, 2017
May 28, 2017
Special Topics in Calamity Physics
Clever and well-written frame story. The ToC is loosely based on a syllabus or reading list, with each chapter title borrowed from a novel, short stor ...more
Jun 11, 2017
Jun 05, 2017
Girl With Curious Hair
Wallace's strange, sad, weird, lonely characters try in these stories to understand themselves and their place in the world, not to mention what, exac ...more
Jan 16, 2017
Jan 01, 2017
The Long Goodbye (Philip Marlowe, #6)
In this novel, far more than the Chandler's earlier ones, I noticed the frame of Marlowe recounting a case since closed, rather than Marlowe, and the ...more
May 31, 2013
Jun 03, 2013
Madame Bovary
The first masterpiece of realist literature, according to translator Lydia Davis, and I don't disagree. From the introduction, I learned that the scru ...more
Nov 15, 2015
Nov 01, 2015
Rum Punch
Leonard's uncanny ear for dialogue is in full effect here. Also notable is his tendency to back up and replay a scene, or part of a scene, from the pe ...more
Feb 21, 2017
Feb 20, 2017
Les Misérables
As in his Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hugo's Les Miserables is chock full of digressions: slang, Waterloo, prostitution, the nature of genius, and, memor ...more
May 21, 2013
Apr 13, 2013
The Tiger Rising
From Scarlett's bookshelf, this National Book Award Finalist is a close third person narration, with occasional dips into omniscience. Rob Horton and ...more
Sep 15, 2011
Sep 16, 2011
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