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For Don DeLillo, 'The Silence' Is Deafening

In Don DeLillo's latest novel, The Silence, it is much like our post-pandemic life -- everything changed but nothing happened. Are we listening?

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Books

Short Stories: Beginnings and Endings

These five short stories—by Naguib Mahfouz, Carmen Maria Machado, Niven Govinden, Margaret Atwood, and Wole Talabi—are about new beginnings. They're also about those unsettling endings that aren't really endings.

Books

The Soul of the Machine in William Gibson's 'Agency'

In William Gibson's prequel to The Peripheral, Agency, Hillary Clinton is president, but that's only a detail.

Books

Ted Chiang's 'Exhalation' Calmly Stares Oblivion in the Face

With his second collection of short stories, Exhalation, master of existential science fiction Ted Chiang explores AI, time travel, and alternate realities with the studious eye of an anthropologist.

Books

'Good on Paper' Asks, Is Fidelity Possible?

Rachel Cantor follows A Highly Unlikely Scenario with a literary mystery about the difficulties of translating art into life and life into art.

Books

Indecent Exposure and Christopher Beha's 'Arts & Entertainments'

This story, although not mindless, is kind of a trashy read; rather like the celebrity culture it critiques.

Reviews

'The Answer to Everything' Questions the Veracity of Truth

If this doesn’t get shortlisted for the Giller Prize, well, that would be just proof that the world is an unjust place.

Books

'On Such a Full Sea' Challenges Our Notion of Free Will, but Leaves So Much More Unchallenged

What are we willing to trade off in order to have a steady income, food on one’s plate and a house over one’s head?

Reviews

'The Luminaries' Is One of the Best Books of 2013

Outside the likes of Zadie Smith, we may never see such a young novelist perform such a great highwire act, and largely succeed, as Eleanor Catton has done here.

Books

Portrait of Paul Auster as a Young Man

Report from the Interior works as a companion volume to the 2012 autobiography Winter Journal, and both books make for quality reading back-to-back about Paul Auster’s life and insights.

Books

'& Sons' Probes the Silences in J. D. Salinger's Fallow Period

& Sons is essentially a novel about reclusiveness, and how that purifies art and distills it into something honest and real.

Books

'Save Yourself' the Trouble

Save Yourself is a novel in which nobody really does, and at the end, you’re left with the lingering feeling that life simply isn’t worth living.

Books

True Love Will Find You in 'The World of the End'

The World of the End just proves that the end of one’s life might not be the end of one’s loves, and makes you really re-think that old line from the marriage ceremony, "'till death do us part."

Books

Stephen King's Son Takes on Films and Famous Fathers in 'Double Feature'

Double Feature is a pretty good work for someone whose own upbringing had to have resembled the B-movies that he so lovingly recreates here.

Books

'Revenge: Eleven Dark Tales' Is Hardly Dark, but It Is Twisted

This is resoundingly a Japanese book, one that mutes horror in favour of character and deft prose.

Books

On Destroying the Nuclear Family: 'May We Be Forgiven'

May We Be Forgiven is a book of pathos, and yet is darkly comedic at the same time. It’s a fine line to walk, but A. M. Homes does a pretty deft job of stringing both ends together.

Books

¡Viva la Revolución(s)! 'Changó’s Beads and Two-Tone Shoes'

If anything, Changó’s Beads and Two-Tone Shoes shows an author who is willing to stretch out and expand his palette, even as he grows well into his twilight years.

Books

On Being An Artist: Don Lee's 'The Collective'

Despite its enthno-centric themes, The Collective is also a rumination on failed dreams that is often quite touching and relatable for those pursuing a second career as an artist.

Books

'In Between Days' Is a Truly Dysfunctional Novel

This is a novel where, if the characters were actual flesh-and-blood, real-life people, you’d want to pull a Cher in Moonstruck on them and slap them in the face and say, “Snap out of it!”

Reviews

Steven Millhauser the Illusionist: 'We Others'

Conjurer Steven Millhauser is a master who has been mining the spaces between the kitchen sink and the outer limits of our knowledge for decades.

Books

A Nice Debut: Vincent Lam's 'The Headmaster's Wager'

This is a novel with a grand sweep and panoramic themes of love, family, duty, politics and even betrayal. And fitting for a person who works as a doctor, it has a scalpel-like precision in its use of language.

Books

Watch the Skies: Hari Kunzru's 'Gods Without Men'

Gods Without Men is vaguely reminiscent of the comic book writings of Grant Morrison of The Invisibles fame: there’s a lot going on within the covers of this novel, and it's as deliriously trippy and expanding as anything Morrison has put to paper.

Reviews

Carol Anshaw's 'Carry the One' Is a Work of Great Populist Literature

Carry the One is a true treasure of a read, and there's no doubt that when the major awards season comes, this novel will be bestowed with high honours.

Books

Misplaced Redemption and Bittersweetness in Esi Edugyan's 'Half-Blood Blues'

Esi Edugyan's Half-Blood Blues is not a work about the tragedy and horror of the darkest days of the Second World War, but rather, a tale of the sword that twisted in the backs of so many in the years leading up to it.

Reviews

Patrick deWitt's 'The Sisters Brothers' Is a Rip-Roaring, Engrossing Read

If you’re looking for a crackling good yarn that elevates itself over simple genre trappings, you should look no further than The Sisters Brothers.

Books

'The Flame Alphabet' Brings to Mind David Cronenberg's Early Films

Despite the genre trappings, The Flame Alphabet is clearly high art: an attempt to go well beyond its schlocky nature and produce something very refined and rarefied.

Books

'1Q84': A World that Bears a Question

Huraki Murakami is stretching himself to create a sort of hybrid between his humourous and off-beat slipstream novels and the aching and yearning of romance that permeates his more mainstream stuff.

Reviews

Small Towns, Big Secrets in Elizabeth Hay's Richly Woven 'Alone in the Classroom'

Alone in the Classroom is a stirring, majestic tale that is ultimately about small towns in Canada and the many layered secrets that they harbour.

Books

'Funeral for a Dog' Is a Decidedly Unmoral Book That Celebrates the Depravity of Human Nature

Funeral for a Dog is a meditative look at male-female relationships that tries to plumb deep, but stays splashing at the surface.

Books

'Spooner': The Travails of the Dim One

Spooner is a bit of an odd book in that it combines humour and tragedy, often in the same breath, which is an uneasy combination.

Books

'The Weekend': Terrorism Without Any Terror

The Weekend is a light and superficial novel that side-steps the core issues of the subject matter, terrorism, leaving readers feeling still hungry after eating a full-course meal.

Books

An American Microcosm Captured in Gish Jen's 'World and Town'

World and Town offers a bit of a microcosm of small town life and how it reacts to the transgressions of the rest of the world upon it.

Books

'Mr. Peanut': Malice in Marriage

Mr. Peanut never truly takes off: it merely stays mired in the failings of marriage without anything resembling an in-depth look at why some people are so unhappy in their unions.


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