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Reviews > Books

Tuesday, January 6 2015

‘A Temporary Future’ Unpacks David Mitchell’s Nesting Doll Novels

Patrick O'Donnell's survey of David Mitchell's six novels dives into the labyrinthine, "screaming Russian doll" structures they all share.


‘A Serial Killer in Nazi Berlin’ Tells of a Killer Hiding Amidst Mass Murderers

The way in which serial killer Paul Ogorzow turned his victims into his own playthings of wickedness is a small allegory of the corruption that seeped the entire Nazi system.


Monday, January 5 2015

‘Melancholy II’ Is a Poignant Novel That Lives Up to Its Name

This melancholic Norwegian masterpiece is a beautiful, albeit acquired taste, now finally available in an English translation.


‘Syllabus’ Explores the Unconscious Mind in a Composition Book

"Accidental professor" Lynda Barry's Syllabus is a graphic novel lesson plan, one that invites readers to reflect on their unconscious perceptions.


Tuesday, December 30 2014

Donald Rumsfeld Becomes Donald the Duck in ‘Ricky Rouse Has a Gun’

The cringe-worthy humor of Ricky Rouse undercuts whatever salient satire it might have had, such as Donald Rumsfeld's disguise as the beloved Disney character Donald the Duck.


Monday, December 29 2014

‘A Cuban In Mayberry’ Travels From America’s Hometown to an All-American Nowhere

Gustavo Perez Firmat's book is a serious examination of why The Andy Griffith Show is still rerunned and revered in the 21st century, even as it slumped to its end with Mayberry R.F.D.


Tuesday, December 23 2014

‘World Film Locations: Athens’ Is Equal Parts Film Scholarship and Travel Guide

These essays provide readers with a comprehensive understanding of Athens, its relationship with the cinema, and how that relationship has evolved.


Monday, December 22 2014

One of Ireland’s Greatest Living Writers Hits Another Home Run With ‘Nora Webster’

Colm Toibin's latest literary outing is like a complex Persian rug: the reader must work to notice and appreciate the patterns.


Sunday, December 21 2014

‘Green: The History of a Color’ Is a Monochrome of Multiplicities

Green: A History is a broad-spanning visualization of this multifaceted color, one that reveals the value of seeing different shades of meaning in the color of historical artworks.


Saturday, December 20 2014

Edward St. Aubyn’s ‘On the Edge’ Brings Some Humor to Life’s Fathomless Oddness

Here's another reasonably entertaining novel of ideas from this internationally-celebrated satirist.


Friday, December 19 2014

‘London: A Literary Anthology’ Captures the City’s Candelit Circles and Foggy Shadows

This wide-spanning anthology is a mélange of London experiences, encapsulating rich and poor, native and immigrant.


‘Hate Crimes in Cyberspace’ Shows Us the Steps to Overcome Online Bullying and Terror

From revenge porn to cyber mobs to trolls, Hate Crimes in Cyberspace shows the ugly side of the Internet and, most importantly, what people can do about it.


Thursday, December 18 2014

‘See You in Paradise’ Casts a Shadow Over the Domestic Sphere

J. Robert Lennon's morbidly dark vision of American domesticity drains the light out of the human dream of domestic bliss to leave it shrouded in shadow.


‘The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress’ Is a Historical Mystery With Panache

The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress is all about speakeasies, gangsters, glamour, and mystery. Best of all? The mystery is a true story.


Wednesday, December 17 2014

‘The Imaginary App’ Shows How Real Apps Have Become to Us

Apps changed everything. The Imaginary App explains how.


‘The Strange Library’ Is Classic, Opaque Murakami

Whimsical and frustrating, Murakami's latest may alienate some readers, but fans will want to add this oddity to their collection.


Tuesday, December 16 2014

Buddhism Wins and Crack Loses in ‘Herbie Hancock: Possibilities’

Herbie Hancock's memoir shows us how possibilities in and of themselves can be fleeting, but their ripple effects can go on nearly forever.


Monday, December 15 2014

A Calm Surface, an Inner Rawness: ‘World Film Locations: Florence’

Like the other entires in the World Film Locations series, this Florence installment acts as a great starting point for serious scholars of film.


‘The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher’ Is White-Hot Storytelling by a Mind Possessed

These stories are as delightful and fizzy as Hilary Mantel's many awe-inspiring historical novels.


Free Speech Came of Age in ‘The Great Dissent’

Thomas Healy offers up a masterful psychological portrait of one of America’s great thinkers, one whose legal opinion would eventually shape free speech in America.


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