Fiction

RECENT REVIEWS

Painting World War I, Not Quite by Number

Painting World War I, Not Quite by Number

14, 15, 16. THE FIRST FIGURE is the original title of Jean Echenoz’s critically acclaimed novel on World War I. The second is the number of chapters that compose it. The third, “seize” in French...

Sacred Fever

Sacred Fever

MAGICAL REALISM. Surrealism. Fantasy. Stuart Dybek has me thinking about how these words are defined in contemporary fiction. Mostly, I do this because his two new books, Paper Lantern and Ecstatic C...

A Quotable Love Story

A Quotable Love Story

IN 1978 The New Yorker published a lovely little piece by Freddy Bosco called “What They Did,” which consisted entirely of a list of full-sentence titles, in alphabetical order, from a library cat...

The Exile and the Spy

The Exile and the Spy

EDWARD WILSON swapped the jungles of Vietnam for the bleak coastline of the Suffolk marshes, Britain’s most easterly point, on the North Sea, facing across to Holland. He traded serving as an offic...

Two Tough Cops (Who Happen to Be Female)

Two Tough Cops (Who Happen to Be Female)

POLICE OFFICERS are expected to deal with the darkest sides of society without showing any cracks in their Kevlar-tough exteriors. Add personal problems to the daily pressures of being a cop, and ...

A South African Novel about E.M. Forster

A South African Novel about E.M. Forster

IN NOVEMBER 1911 E. M. Forster began a novel organized around the opposition between the heroic personality, longing to fight and die, and the cultured man who hopes for a time when “all is light,...

“The Writer Should Be Invisible”

“The Writer Should Be Invisible”

TIMOTHY HALLINAN is a very busy man, currently writing two books a year. He says it “feels a lot like writing four books a year. It really scoops me out.” His first series was published in the 19...

Subterranean Lives

Subterranean Lives

JENNY OFFILL’S latest novel, Dept. of Speculation, features a protagonist known only as “the wife” as she navigates balancing her passion for writing with raising a daughter, and later, with th...

Lily King on the Publication of Euphoria

Lily King on the Publication of Euphoria

Lily's King's latest novel, Euphoria, was published by Atlantic Monthly Press earlier this summer. Inspired by the life of Margret Mead, Euphoria tells the story of three anthropologists caught in a ...

I Fall to Pieces

I Fall to Pieces

EVEN A CASUAL READER of Siri Hustvedt, who published her first novel in 1992, is likely to have picked up on certain preoccupations. She is familiar with and refers liberally to the work of Freud, Ki...

DeLillo and the Triumph of Solitude

DeLillo and the Triumph of Solitude

THE OCTOBER 20, 2003 ISSUE of The New Yorker features essays and articles about Hollywood. Its cover depicts a film crew shooting an actress behind the wheel of a stationary convertible, her hair tous...

Thomas Berger: A Celebration

Thomas Berger: A Celebration

AN OLD FRIEND HAS DIED and I don’t really know what to say. I’ve written two books and a bunch of articles about Thomas Berger’s fiction, and I exchanged letters and emails with him for nearly 4...

Facts and Dreams

Facts and Dreams

IN THE 1980s PBS miniseries Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, Carl Sagan invited his viewers to explore the cosmos with him in a ship of the imagination. You might remember the washed-out tint of desaturated...