Book Reviews Archive

The Criminal Child by Jean Genet

Genet operated in social structures in order to subvert them, to explore and craft beauty from the darkest corners of modern civilization. While most artists can only imagine a prison sentence, prostitution, ecstasy, or evil, Genet lived through these experiences and, in some cases, sought them out.

Children of the Land by Marcelo Hernandez Castillo

In his new memoir, Marcelo Hernandez Castillo writes missing pages of humanity into the history books of immigration.

Cleanness by Garth Greenwell

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Greenwell’s novel feels at once perilously modern and coolly baroque; a Sebaldian melancholy wafts up like a fog through the spaces in his lovingly turned sentences.

Topics of Conversation by Miranda Popkey

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In Miranda Popkey’s debut novel, conversation has the power to shape the story of a life.

The Hills Reply by Tarjei Vesaas

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Vesaas’s language is rich and thickening, replete with extended metaphors that are visionary, haunting, and half-mad, recalling the ebullient, runaway brushwork of Van Gogh.

All My Cats by Bohumil Hrabal

Vulnerable and wise, Hrabal’s gorgeous memoir subtly probes the depths of a fragile, troubled psyche, turning a subject as potentially benign as pet ownership into a platform of interlocking drama and introspection.

Frolic and Detour by Paul Muldoon

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Like Ashbery in his final collections, or Cohen in his final albums, Paul Muldoon has nothing left to prove, and can take delight simply in doing what he inimitably does. And his delight is ours.

In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado

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In her new memoir, Machado tells a story of abuse that often goes unrecognized, exploring what happens when we don’t have ready narrative models for our experiences.

The Factory by Hiroko Oyamada

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Oyamada’s new novel is a tale of inaction rather than revolt, a story about the warm, velvety embrace of production models. Her characters seem exemplars of a particularly post-millennial brand of jaded helplessness, one that’s the result of living lives in the shadow of exploitative labor systems so all-encompassing

Last of Her Name by Mimi Lok

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In Mimi Lok’s debut story collection, the characters are linked in their sense of displacement and isolation, both connected to and separate from their families and their shared histories.