Book Reviews

American Pastoral (1997)

What most fascinates me about this novel—along, of course, with Roth’s beautiful prose—is its inability, ultimately, to make any sense of the Swede’s tragedy.

Jun 7, 2002
Category: Book Reviews, Words

Black Water (1992)

But Black Water is first and foremost a novel about Kelly Kelleher and, by analogy, all other women who have been abused, exploited, and discarded by the powerful and by the media that report it.

Jun 6, 2002
Category: Book Reviews, Words

American Fiction in the Cold War

Schaub focuses the majority of his attention on the early post-war years, turning to the New York Intellectuals—Howe, Trilling, and Schlesinger, in particular—for his diagnosis of the crisis at the heart of the American Left at the start of the Cold War.

Jun 4, 2002
Category: Book Reviews, Words

The Public Burning (1976)

At the site of the execution—fantastically transposed from Sing Sing to the middle of Times Square—Nixon appears with his pants around his ankles, fully erect, then brings the crowd to a riotous frenzy as history dissolves around them.

Jun 3, 2002
Category: Book Reviews, Words

Benito Cereno (1855)

As Mike Frank has recently asked, “What might narratology look like if we were to take cinema — particularly ‘classical Hollywood cinema’ — as the paradigmatic instance of storytelling?”

Jan 5, 2002
Category: Book Reviews, Essays, Film, Words

The Woman Warrior (1975)

Reading The Woman Warrior now, twenty-five years after its original publication, I find it difficult to separate the actual text from the cultural milieu in which it was written.

Dec 3, 2001
Category: Book Reviews, Words

Another Country (1962)

Baldwin is so determined to explode the intersections of race, gender, and sexuality that he makes a fatal mistake: instead of being particularly insightful or even shocking, Another Country is preachy, sentimental, and, worst of all, boring.

Oct 18, 2001
Category: Book Reviews, Words

Broom of the System (1987)

Lenore Beadsman’s life is complicated. The 24 year old heir to the Beadsman baby food empire struggles to balance her career as a call center operator — where the lines of communication seem perpetually crossed — with her, um, complex relationship with her boss, Rick Vigorous, of Frequent and Vigorous Publishing.

Apr 11, 2001
Category: Book Reviews, Words

Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937)

In the opening chapters of Their Eyes Were Watching God, an elderly African-American woman sits down with her granddaughter and explains the main lesson she has learned during her difficult life, one that has spanned from the final years of slavery to the more promising days of the twentieth century.

Jan 11, 2001
Category: Book Reviews, Words

O Pioneers (1913)

Willa Cather was nearly 40 years old in 1913 when she published O Pioneers!, her second novel. It’s difficult, then, to overlook the obvious similarities between her own life and that of her heroine, Alexandra Bergson.

Jan 11, 2001
Category: Book Reviews, Words