Fiction

RECENT REVIEWS

Blood in the Waters

Blood in the Waters

IN THE PAYING GUESTS, her sixth novel, Sarah Waters expands on one of the most prominent themes of her last novel, The Little Stranger: class upheaval after a war in which men of all backgrounds have ...

Private Myths of the Bourgeoisie

Private Myths of the Bourgeoisie

ROBERTO CALASSO, the writer and publisher, has observed that “mythical figures live many lives, die many deaths, and in this they differ from the characters we find in novels, who can never go beyon...

LA Women

LA Women

YOU'RE GOING to have a tough time if you invoke Philip Marlowe in your LA-noir novels. Steph Cha’s debut, Follow Her Home, introduced nascent gumshoe Juniper Song by following Song — it’s what e...

What Female Characters?

What Female Characters?

I ONCE HAD a long conversation with a male friend about our respective pasts with our respective opposite sexes. We started out commiserating, about the pain of love and the ability of men to inflict...

The Other Vietnam Syndrome

The Other Vietnam Syndrome

THE VIETNAM WAR, for most Americans, has always been a tragedy with only two characters: the courageous but callow GI and the wily and ultimately victorious Vietnamese Communist. Everyone else, from t...

Limits to Knowing

Limits to Knowing

ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS you’ll hear about Haruki Murakami’s new novel, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, is that it went through eight printings the first week it was released ...

What Was Best About the World

What Was Best About the World

AS THE WORLD seems to crumble into disarray, our fictions suggest that we long for an undoing — whether to escape such horrors as Gaza, the Ebola pandemic, and Ferguson, Missouri, or to reassure our...

Cool Characters

Cool Characters

SEVERAL MONTHS AGO while sitting in the back of a courtroom waiting to be arraigned on a charge that could have sent me to jail for a year, I began reading Justin Gifford’s Pimping Fictions: African...

Ferocious Friendship

Ferocious Friendship

THOSE WHO LEAVE AND THOSE WHO STAY, the third volume in Elena Ferrante’s seductive Neapolitan series, continues the story of two women whose lives intersect, parallel, antagonize, and support one an...

Fake Britannia

Fake Britannia

BEFORE IAN FLEMING gave us Bond, espionage writers mostly wrote about ordinary people, everyday folk who somehow slipped into the spy business. Their heroes/antiheroes invariably found themselves in ...

Lost in the Way of the City

Lost in the Way of the City

THE GIFTED Nepalese writer Samrat Upadhyay writes in English about ordinary, mostly middle class characters in his homeland, and their struggles against economic hardship and entrenched social customs...