How Literature Saved This Book
February 12, 2013

Several years ago, David Shields staked out a new literary aesthetic with Reality Hunger. His latest, How Literature Saved My Life, reads like so many strung-together blog posts. But does that matter?

How to Write About Sex
The awkward art of the smitten word
February 08, 2013

The only thing more common than bad sex? Bad writing about sex. A novelist describes the dangers of the smitten word.

Excess Baggage—The Voluminous Diaries of Christopher Isherwood
January 11, 2013

Isherwood's overflowing diaries are in need of a thorough edit.

Gospel Truth—Colm Tóibín Reinvents Mary
December 26, 2012

The Testament of Mary is a first-person novella, but it is also an argument about the contingent nature of the Christian tradition.

The Roberto Bolaño Bubble
December 17, 2012

ALTHOUGH IT HAS been nearly a decade since Roberto Bolaño’s death, he has been publishing at an enviable clip. His latest book, Woes of the True Policeman, is not even his first this year: last spring there appeared The Secret of Evil, a collection of nineteen largely unfinished stories.

Household Words—The Complicated Domestic Life of Charles Dickens
December 07, 2012

The case of Charles Dickens is an extreme example of our desire to know all the darkest details about the lives of our great heroes

Do Epigraphs Matter?
December 06, 2012

The epigraph's most basic function is to remind us that literature is a social act.

L.A. Story—A Rising Star of West Coast Lit Shines Dimly
November 20, 2012

Wilson’s devotion to voice above all other narrative elements is even less effective in Panorama City than it was in The Interloper.

Green Piece—Barbara Kingsolver’s Eco Obsessions
November 16, 2012

In this novel Kingsolver abandons the spirited determination of her memoir in favor of transparent literary activism.

Not Quite Stories—Alice Munro’s Almost Autobiography
November 14, 2012

If Dear Life is part of a kind of coda on her career, what message does it dispatch?