Reviews Archives - Page 4 of 87 - The Millions

February 9, 2017

The Best Snow Story Ever 3


Gass began writing the story “to entertain a toothache.” That’s an appropriate anecdote. A philosopher by training and a critic by practice, Gass has always been in love with language. Words are his God.

February 8, 2017

A Citizen of War: On Malik Sajad’s ‘Munnu: A Boy From Kashmir’ 0


Sajad is unsettlingly blunt about the brutality of army personnel in Srinagar, doing away with the idealism that mars debates in suburban Indian homes, often shaped by news channels, where sensationalists run amok, and Bollywood, which would rather engage in melodrama and merrymaking.

February 2, 2017

A Classic Nightmare: On Emily Fridlund’s ‘History of Wolves’ 0


The story returns to its most painful material and plunges us into a moment-by-moment experience of the self-delusions, complicity, and failures of nerve and understanding that lead to disaster.

January 30, 2017

Sentimental and Manipulative: On Jonathan Safran Foer’s ‘Here I Am’ 45


In spite of Foer’s issues, in spite of the flaws wounding Here I Am, in spite of the fact that it’s at least 100 pages longer than it needs to be, when I closed the book for the last time, I was genuinely moved.

January 18, 2017

The Way Individuals Survive: On Jen George’s ‘The Babysitter at Rest’ 0


George’s frank dystopias do not rely on beauty or brutality or humanistic appeals to sell themselves. Just a vision and a ghoulish sense of humor.

January 17, 2017

A Tree That Is All Branches: On Rachel Cusk’s ‘Transit’ 2


The peripheral narrative construction of Transit — the feints and evasions and elisions — is finally peripheral to the central pleasure: spending time with the book’s animating intelligence.

January 12, 2017

Bridge Life: On André Aciman’s ‘Enigma Variations’ 0


Depth, not breadth, is the treasure, and grasping after the ungraspable present becomes the point of the quest itself.

December 28, 2016

Writing Without a Face: On ‘Frantumaglia’ 1


Whenever Ferrante is forced to communicate about her work, her communication is laced with an intense self-surveillance. The book is restrained and self-protective, and I find myself protective of her as well.

November 21, 2016

Nameless and Undefined: On Zadie Smith’s ‘Swing Time’ 0


Aimee’s presence in Swing Time serves as an allegory for the power of whiteness; it comes, it takes, it leaves, and no one can stop it.

November 17, 2016

Stealing from the Library: On April Ayers Lawson’s ‘Virgin and Other Stories’ 0


So which art is the good art? Who are the real artists? Who cares? Lawson’s stories seem to ask, rather gleefully. You paint and you play to distract yourself from pain. You are whatever you say you are.