Fiction

RECENT REVIEWS

Fictional Forays to a Familiarly Exotic China

Fictional Forays to a Familiarly Exotic China

SUSAN BARKER’s The Incarnations presents modern Beijing through the anguished relations and confused sexuality of a taxi driver, and takes us beyond the glitter and high-rise developments of the Chi...

The New New Africa

The New New Africa

AMERICANS have probably learned more in the last three months about Liberia and Sierra Leone than in the previous 10 years. In the unrelieved darkness that comprises a particular Western imagining of...

We’re in This Barroom Brawl Together

We’re in This Barroom Brawl Together

For a writer whose work deals with the darkest of subjects — suicide — and who has lost two immediate family members to it, Miriam Toews (rhymes with waves) laughs a lot. In Toews’s world, comed...

God Would Bend

God Would Bend

ABOUT 300 MILLION people reside in the United States, hence the title of Blake Butler’s latest novel, in which he kills all of them. Butler, who has published seven books since his debut in 2009 w...

A Funny Process

A Funny Process

IN COLM TÓIBÍN’S new novel, Nora Webster, a widow and her two teenage sons attempt to move on with their lives after the untimely death of the family patriarch. Taking inspiration from his own ch...

Les Plesko Remembered

Les Plesko Remembered

A YEAR AGO, Les Plesko authored his final act by jumping from a Venice Beach roof. Among the things he left behind: a bereft army of students from his long association with the UCLA Writers’ Program...

William Gibson’s Breakfast Burrito

William Gibson’s Breakfast Burrito

NEAR THE END of The Peripheral, William Gibson’s latest novel, there is a short chapter dedicated to the problem one character faces in acquiring a breakfast burrito. The burrito is for one of the ...

I Am Revolted from the Inside

I Am Revolted from the Inside

WHILE I WROTE this review I felt queasy. Just a low-grade nausea, enough to make the lurching subway and the plummeting elevator a bit of a chore. The Talenti gelato I was consuming in copious quantit...

Carnage Hill, or Frank Bascombe’s Late Years

Carnage Hill, or Frank Bascombe’s Late Years

IN THE SECOND PARAGRAPH of Richard Ford’s 1986 novel The Sportswriter, right after Ford introduces us to Frank Bascombe, the character who has gone on to occupy the author’s attentions for the bet...

The Un-Accidental

The Un-Accidental

“WE DO TREAT books surprisingly lightly in contemporary culture,” writes Ali Smith, in Artful, her genre-bending release from 2012. “We’d never expect to understand a piece of music on one lis...

Albania’s Prophet of the Surveillance State

Albania’s Prophet of the Surveillance State

ALBANIA, over the course of its unique history, has found itself, or perhaps even willed itself into being the patria sacra of Europe. Like Giorgio Agamben’s homo sacer, condemned to be both cursed ...

The Apotheosis of Envy

The Apotheosis of Envy

I DEVOURED Keigo Higashino’s novel Malice. I read it in one sitting, curled up on my couch with my knees tucked under a blanket. As Higashino peeled back the mystery, I felt deliciously uneasy. Some...