The end of the world as we know it is the focus of Emily St. John Mandel’s surprisingly humane Station Eleven. … More The End is Nigh in Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
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?
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
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
“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
My favorite reading experiences either teach me about something I didn’t know much about or shine a light on parts of our culture I am unfamiliar with. Part of the urgency of reading Junot Díaz, for example, is that the stories he tells are usually left on the margins if they get told at all. … More Living and Dying the Native American Life in America: There There, by Tommy Orange
I have a condition where I want to like Alan Hollinghurst’s writing more than I actually do. The Line of Beauty was fine, but my opinion of it was helped by a BBC adaptation that smoothed out a lot of the areas I found problematic in the book itself–namely that there was something inaccessible about it. … More A Gay Multigenerational Saga: The Sparsholt Affair, by Alan Hollinghurst