Book Reviews Archive

Jack by Marilynne Robinson

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Robinson’s novels are like glaciers. They move slowly, but they leave behind a transformed landscape. In the vast and complex landscape of American novel-writing, Marilynne Robinson’s is a unique and indispensable terrain.

The Caretaker by Doon Arbus

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Doon Arbus’s debut is an enigmatic and necessary book, especially for those conflicted about the physical detritus accumulated over the course of a life.

Conjure by Rae Armantrout

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Conjure offers a magic of its own, with sly and unforgettable juxtapositions of the minute and the exceptional, elevated by the intellect, flair, and confidence of a poet at the top of her game.

Daddy by Emma Cline

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Emma Cline’s new collection investigates the shadier corners of the human experience, exploring the fault lines of power between men and women, parents and children, and the past and present. Cline deftly interrogates masculinity and the fates of broken relationships, examining violence on both a societal and personal level.

Sisters by Daisy Johnson

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Daisy Johnson’s new novel dissolves the borders between dreams and reality, presenting a radical portrait of identity. Rather than a constructed and fixed self, one that is as distinct as it is static, identity is fluid, multivalent, and porous: a person never stays themselves for long.

Many People Die Like You by Lina Wolff

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Lina Wolff’s new story collection, translated by Saskia Vogel, addresses death with morbid humor and oddity—flings, murders, and a DIY porn channel—and leaves us to stave off death with morbid hopefulness.

The Unreality of Memory & Other Essays by Elisa Gabbert

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Elisa Gabbert’s new essay collection is both an examination of conscience and a cataloging of modern American anxiety. It touches our pressure points with the intention of helping us identify sources of pain in our own lives.

Mad World, Mad Kings, Mad Composition by Lisa Fishman

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Lisa Fishman’s new collection is an honest and ongoing wrestling with the vocation of poetry itself.

I Hold a Wolf by the Ears by Laura van den Berg

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Laura van den Berg is a writer of wonderous understatement. Her stories end with readers feeling they have Wile E Coyote’d their way off a cliff and are only now realizing there is no ground left beneath them.

Must I Go by Yiyun Li

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Though Yiyun Li’s new novel contains the sketchy architecture of an intergenerational, historical novel, its rooms and stories remain more conceptual than actual . . . . Husbands and wives are easily swapped. The defiant workings of memory are more important than memories themselves. Lives are annotated rather than