A Handbook for Helping the Dying: The Gifts of the Body, by Rebecca Brown

A humane, sharply observed set of interlocked stories about a home care worker taking care of AIDS patients in the 1990s. … More A Handbook for Helping the Dying: The Gifts of the Body, by Rebecca Brown

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When You Just Can’t Get Behind a Book Everyone Else Loves: Washington Black, by Esi Edugyan

Reviews of Esi Edugyan’s Man Booker finalists Half-Blood Blues and Washington Black–one of which I love and one which I struggled to get through. … More When You Just Can’t Get Behind a Book Everyone Else Loves: Washington Black, by Esi Edugyan

Is The Bonfire of the Vanities a Garbage Novel?

For many years The Bonfire of the Vanities, Tom Wolfe’s satirical novel about race and money in New York City, has been called the definitive novel of the 1980s. It was a smash hit upon publication in 1987 and earned Wolfe, already known for his nonfiction books The Right Stuff and The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, raves. But … More Is The Bonfire of the Vanities a Garbage Novel?

The Book I Gave up on Twice: The Female Persuasion, by Meg Wolitzer

I am a total fanboy of Meg Wolitzer’s novel The Interestings, as evidenced by the review I wrote back then. And while I can readily admit that The Interestings is not without flaws, I’m still dazzled by what it achieved: an astonishingly true-to-life examination of how a group of friends progresses over time. The Female Persuasion‘s publication was like … More The Book I Gave up on Twice: The Female Persuasion, by Meg Wolitzer

The Secret Love Life of Eleanor Roosevelt: White Houses, by Amy Bloom

Eleanor Roosevelt’s relationship with Lorena Hickok has been a source of controversy since the days it was happening in real-time. Were they secret lovers? Merely close friends? The topic has been endlessly debated. White Houses assumes that they were lovers, which seems reasonable, and purports to tell the story of their relationship. And it does, but … More The Secret Love Life of Eleanor Roosevelt: White Houses, by Amy Bloom

Living and Dying in Times of Crisis: The Great Believers, by Rebecca Makkai

“It’s always a matter, isn’t it, of waiting for the world to come unraveled? When things hold together, it’s only temporary.” Simply put, The Great Believers is a novel about the fragility of life; how tenuous our grasp on it–and each other–is. It is also beautiful, honest, and funny. I am not ashamed to admit that … More Living and Dying in Times of Crisis: The Great Believers, by Rebecca Makkai