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Reviews

Your mileage may vary, but I Ioved A Visit from the Goon Squad and I love Egan’s new book, The Candy House, even more. It keeps verging on being another boring dystopia and then, happily, going off into a much more interesting space. Read more at 4columns.org.

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Lack of confidence is not what characterizes Bette Howland’s work. It’s more like an underlying assumption that she isn’t quite the right person: an anxiety of identity that first creates writers and then undermines them. It’s a second-guessing game…

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At the beginning of The Sentence, Louise Erdrich’s darkly funny and wickedly brilliant new novel, an Ojibwe woman named Tookie faces a long prison term for illegally transporting a dead body. She looks up the word sentence and stares miserably at “its yawning c, belligerent little e’s . . . its hissing sibilants and double […]

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Among all the artists of the New York School, that brilliant and quarrelsome group of postwar painters and poets, Helen Frankenthaler (1928–2011) stands out for the apparent ease of her artistic process. … Pollock, Rothko, Willem de Kooning must be good, because look what they paid in depression, alcoholism, and self-doubt. Frankenthaler’s stunning canvases challenge […]

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I’ve been posting fewer reviews here lately, partly because I’ve been reviewing less (and writing more! I’ve really almost finished my second book). But it’s also because I’ve been working differently. I used to write my reviews for Trouw in English, then give them to my partner, Jan van Houten, to translate into Dutch. That […]

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For pure reading pleasure ‘The Testaments’, Margaret Atwood’s long-awaited sequel to “The Handmaid’s Tale,” lives up to every bit of the considerable pre-publication hype. Atwood’s original dystopian novel, published in 1985, ends like a Cold War thriller: the main character, Offred, escapes from Gilead, the Christian theocracy where as a “Handmaid” she is held in […]

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