Book Reviews Archive

Lost Memory of Skin

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Lost Memory of Skin Russell Banks Ecco, September 2011 432 pages $25.99 Outside of freshman philosophy classes and Republican presidential debates, morality is not a hot topic these days. Books that moralize are considered old-fashioned at best and insulting at worst. Leave it to Russell Banks to write a

So You Know It’s Me

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So You Know It’s Me Brian Oliu Tiny Hardcore Press, June 2011 56 pages $7.00 This post was written by Kim Liao. A good piece of experimental nonfiction is hard to find: Creative nonfiction writers experiment rarely, and when they do, the result is often too tentative or too

The Letter Killers Club

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The Letter Killers Club Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky (Trans. Joanne Turnbull) New York Review Books Classics, December 2011 144 pages $14.00 Separating the mysteries of Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky’s own story from those within the stories he published is a difficult task, especially when, in the case of The Letter Killers Club, written

Not Unlike…

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The Blue Tower Tomaz Salamun (translated by Michael Biggins with the author) Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, October 2011 96 pages $22.00 Editor’s note: P. Scott Stanfield holds a Ph.D. in English and teaches literature at Nebraska Wesleyan University. Recently, I challenged him to see how many literary references he could

End of American Magic

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End of American Magic by Christopher Locke Salmon Poetry / Dufour Editions, Sept. 2011 76 pages $21.95 Arthur Miller may have pronounced the American Dream dead in Death of a Salesman, but Christopher Locke’s new book of poetry, End of American Magic, implies such a pessimistic assessment isn’t wholly accurate.  Like

Blue Nights

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Blue Nights Joan Didion Alfred A. Knopf, November 2011 208 pages $25.00 This post was written by Jaya Aninda Chatterjee. “We tell ourselves stories in order to live,” wrote author and cultural critic Joan Didion in The White Album, her chronicle of the revolutionary politics of the 1960s and ’70s.

The Ecstasy of Influence

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The Ecstasy of Influence: Nonfictions, Etc. Jonathan Lethem Doubleday, November 2011 464 pages $27.95 Have you ever found, after a long trip with a friend, that you’ve grown tired of their voice? That approximates how I felt after reading Jonathan Lethem’s most recent collection of prose, The Ecstasy of

The Forgotten Waltz

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The Forgotten Waltz Anne Enright W.W. Norton and Company, October 2011 259 pages $15.95 This post was written by Caitlin O’Neil Amaral. For a second-generation Irish American like me, whose family has turned the old sod into a mythical land of sorrow and song, Anne Enright is a bracing

Lightning Rods

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Lightning Rods Helen DeWitt New Directions, Oct. 2011 $24.95 I tried describing Lightning Rods to my brother like this: “The book is about Joe, a salesman who sells glory holes and makes them a standard fixture in the bathroom stalls of corporate offices across America.” He grimaced. “This was

Tolstoy: A Russian Life

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Tolstoy: A Russian Life Rosamund Bartlett Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, November 2010 560 pages $35 Tolstoy biographers almost have too much material to work with. Unlike Dickens, Tolstoy didn’t burn any of his 8,500 letters; unlike Hardy, he didn’t destroy large portions of his diaries. Instead, he carefully preserved all