Adam Kirsch

A Middlemarch for Middle America
October 31, 2012

The strength of Attenberg’s modest but effective novel is that she convinces us that the way the Middlesteins live is, indeed, the way we live now.

Past Lives: A Memoir of Family Secrets and Lies
September 28, 2012

Few people manage to view themselves with the candor and subtlety that Roth summons in The Scientists.

Art Over Biology
July 12, 2012

Before 2013 begins, catch up on the best of 2012. From now until the New Year, we will be re-posting some of The New Republic’s most thought-provoking pieces of the year. Enjoy. Why Lyrics Last: Evolution, Cognition, and Shakespeare’s Sonnets By Brian Boyd (Harvard University Press, 227 pp., $25.95) Wired for Culture: Origins of the Human Social Mind By Mark Pagel (W.W. Norton, 416 pp., $29.95) The Age of Insight: The Quest to Understand the Unconscious in Art, Mind, and Brain, from Vienna 1900 to the Present By Eric R.

The Imaginary Jew
July 09, 2012

What is genuinely illuminating in the Bech stories is not what John Updike knows about Jewishness, which is not very much, but what he imagines about

In and Out of History
June 13, 2012

In every respect, The World Without You marks an advance on Joshua Henkin’s previous book, Matrimony, which came out in 2007. On the spectrum of Ameri

The Imagination Catches Up
May 08, 2012

Laurent Binet sets out to retell the life story of Reinhard Heydrich—one of the primary architects of the Holocaust and the highest ranking Nazi offic

Modern Supernaturalism
April 24, 2012

To read Isaac Bashevis Singer’s collected stories is to realize the extent of American Jewish piety toward the Old World, because of its total absence

Freedom Porn
April 20, 2012

Parallel Stories By Péter Nádas Translated by Imre Goldstein (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1,133 pp., $40)  Péter Nádas’s novel begins with the most formulaic kind of narrative device: the discovery of a corpse.

The Wound
March 19, 2012

Mr. Sammler’s Planet is not a “Holocaust novel.” It is, emphatically, a novel about its own time and place—New York in 1969, during the summer of the

Absent and Present
February 29, 2012

By Blood, the marvelously creepy new novel by Ellen Ullman reads like a nineteenth-century novel, but grapples with the problems of Jewish identity in

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