Author Archive

The Possibilities of Brooklyn Past

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Rarely do an adaptation and its source material mesh so well as they do in Brooklyn—the 2009 novel by former Ploughshares guest editor Colm Tóibín, and the 2015 film by John Crowley.

I, Gambler

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Much like the games they glamorize, gambling narratives are fraught with risk. They risk losing the reader in the minutiae of strategy and tactics.

Book vs. Movie: No Country for Old Men

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If, while watching a movie with your spouse, you like to whisper “that didn’t happen in the book” (and who doesn’t?), then you’ll be sorely disappointed by a screening of No Country for Old Men. Virtually every scene and every line of dialogue in the Coen brothers’ Academy Award-winning

Book vs. Movie: Never Let Me Go

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Kazuo Ishiguro’s 2005 novel Never Let Me Go is both an unsettling allegory of systemic oppression, and an intimate portrait of three young people negotiating an impossible living situation. There’s a lot going on, both on the surface and beneath, and a reader couldn’t be faulted for thinking, “this

Colson Whitehead on Slavery, Elevators, and Donald Trump

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I got to know Colson Whitehead back when he was infiltrating the poker world for his non-fiction narrative, The Noble Hustle. His new novel, The Underground Railroad, has been honored by none other than Oprah Winfrey with her latest book club selection.

Why is THE LONG GOODBYE so Long?

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Detective novels are meant to grab you, kick you in the gut, hoist you up by your cheap lapels, and carry you along riveted as you stagger through the L.A. streets. On your journey you’ll drink from flasks, resist femmes fatales (or not), and compromise your principles.

Story vs. History: Competing Ambitions in Viet Thanh Nguyen’s THE SYMPATHIZER

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Like many Gen-Xers, I don’t know as much as I should about the Vietnam War. Sure I’ve heard stories—from an uncle who cleared land mines, from a middle school teacher ravaged by Agent Orange.

Review: A DOUBTER’S ALMANAC by Ethan Canin

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A Doubter’s Almanac Ethan Canin Random House, Feb 2016 576 pp; $28 Buy: hardcover | eBook Mathematicians toil in obscurity, often for years, at work that will probably come to nothing. It doesn’t take a Fields Medalist to understand why a novelist, that most uncertain toiler of all, would