Fiction

RECENT REVIEWS

A Short Story Can Ruin Your Life

A Short Story Can Ruin Your Life

CHARLES BAXTER’S new story collection There’s Something I Want You to Do contains an epigraph, taken from Primo Levi: It is common knowledge that nobody is born with a decalogue already formed, ...

A Wishful Fear and a Fearful Wish

A Wishful Fear and a Fearful Wish

IN HIS RECENT COLUMN for Esquire, “A Thousand Words About Our Culture,” Stephen Marche argues that “the forms of genre — science fiction, fantasy, the hardboiled detective story, the murder my...

The Long View

The Long View

EARLY ON, Thomas McGuane’s novels, The Sporting Club (1969), The Bushwhacked Piano (1971), and particularly Ninety-Two in the Shade (1973), caught the eyes of the critics for their manic characters ...

Minding Other People’s Business: On Dawn Powell

Minding Other People’s Business: On Dawn Powell

LAST YEAR, I bought Dawn Powell’s novel A Time to Be Born for less than two dollars from a used bookstore. I didn’t know much about Powell or her work, but I somehow knew her name. The opening par...

Memories of a Chicana Falsa

Memories of a Chicana Falsa

MICHELE SERROS WROTE for the same reasons many of us write — to share stories, to tell jokes, to tackle issues, to make a living. But, on top of all that, or maybe even before all of it, I believe s...

Jonathan Lethem, the Elephant Man

Jonathan Lethem, the Elephant Man

If everyone is continually executing interpretive strategies and in that act constituting texts, intentions, speakers, and authors, how can any one of us know whether or not he is a member of the same...

Memory, Trauma, and the Diasporic Subject

Memory, Trauma, and the Diasporic Subject

UNRAVELING THE “distinct problematic” of forgetting and forgiveness — a dyad crucial to the survival of traumatic injury like that represented in this, Salah el Moncef’s complex and, finally,...

On Her Own Terms

On Her Own Terms

BRIAN MORTON, virtuoso of discourse, sets his fifth novel, Florence Gordon, in a contemporary New York City, where sophistication among the literati has reached a level where all conversation is ironi...

Pata Pata Time

Pata Pata Time

GROWING UP in a newly democratic South Africa, I was raised on dystopian narratives highly conscious of their politics. Whether it was Gordimer and Coetzee, or Wally Serote and Athol Fugard, all began...

The Space of Possibility

The Space of Possibility

CALLING TO MIND that old saw against hasty superficiality, the cover of Tom McCarthy’s new novel, Satin Island, defies the prospective reader to judge the book. Between Technicolor splotches, it li...

A Satin Island of the Mind

A Satin Island of the Mind

TOM MCCARTHY’s new novel Satin Island, like his previous three books, is difficult to describe. The plot, as much as there is one, concerns a “corporate anthropologist” named, simply U. — “C...