Civilization and Barbarism
March 14, 2012

Hong Xiuquan declared the “Taiping Heavenly Kingdom” in 1851 and appointed himself “Heavenly King” over China, which already had a leader of divine ma

Stalking Geoff Dyer
March 13, 2012

The rich, problematic delight with Geoff Dyer’s new book, Zona is that it’s so much more fun than the film it addresses, Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker (1

The Revolution in Feeling
March 12, 2012

The Sufferings of Young Werther, a heartbreaking, irritating, and occasionally funny semi-autobiographical epistolary novel about a young man’s

The Town of Life
March 08, 2012

Andrés Neuman’s ambitious book is the first of this young writer’s four novels to appear in English, and its opening pages announce a rather deceptive

The Great Illusion
March 07, 2012

The premise of Linda Killian's The Swing Vote is based on the greatest myth in American politics: that independents are actually independent. They are

Schoolyard Risks
March 06, 2012

In her well-intentioned but flawed book, Jessie Klein, a professor of sociology and criminal justice, seeks to explain why school shootings happen and

On Her Own Two Feet
March 05, 2012

The re-issue of two Elizabeth Taylor novels, A Game of Hide and Seek and Angel, is truly exciting. For years, Taylor’s short stories—painfully smart,

The Story's About You
March 01, 2012

Pico Iyer's new book, The Man Within My Head, a congeries of travel sketches and autobiographical vignettes, carries as a somewhat intermittent leitmo

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

The Indignity of Labor
February 28, 2012

The twisted, uncomfortable brilliance of Gulag Boss, both as a historical document and as a piece of literature, is created by reducing the sprawling,