literature

James Baldwin Digs Into the Roots of American Music

James Baldwin Digs Into the Roots of American Music

James Baldwin’s writing about music illuminates the significance of racial slavery for all American music. Black American music can help America to move forward if used properly.

Hypochondria Sets the Rules for ‘Here Is a Game We Could Play’

Hypochondria Sets the Rules for ‘Here Is a Game We Could Play’

Hypochondria, obsession, and confusion set the rules for a love affair in Jenny Bitner’s excellent debut novel, Here Is a Game We Could Play.

Is Louis Menand Right About the Death of Art and Thought in America?

Is Louis Menand Right About the Death of Art and Thought in America?

For intellectual historian Louis Menand, the Cold War gave rise to prospects and paradoxes in America, and Art was given status through essential criticism.

‘Klara and the Sun’ Explores What Makes Us Tick

‘Klara and the Sun’ Explores What Makes Us Tick

‘Klara and the Sun’ is dappled with themes of personal identity and death, in one form or another.

Kazuo Ishiguro’s ‘Klara and the Sun’ Is a Simple Story about Complicated Things

Kazuo Ishiguro’s ‘Klara and the Sun’ Is a Simple Story about Complicated Things

There is nothing artificial about Kazuo Ishiguro’s Klara of ‘Klara and the Sun’. That’s the tragedy and the irony of being an Artificial Friend.

Truths Overlap in Jenny Erpenbeck’s Memoir of German Reunification, ‘Not a Novel’

Truths Overlap in Jenny Erpenbeck’s Memoir of German Reunification, ‘Not a Novel’

Living under the repressive East German regime taught its citizens to distrust their government and read through the lines of its proclamations to glean the reality of a situation, Jenny Erpenbeck explains in Not a Novel.

Ottessa Moshfegh’s ‘Death in Her Hands’ Is Not What It Seems

Ottessa Moshfegh’s ‘Death in Her Hands’ Is Not What It Seems

A character named Magda dies, and lives, in language only in Ottessa Moshfegh's Death in Her Hands. But then again, don't all literary characters?

Five Women Who Fought the Patriarchy

Five Women Who Fought the Patriarchy

Whether one chooses to read Square Haunting for the sketches of the five fascinating women, or to understand how misogyny and patriarchy constricted intellectual and public life in the period, Francesca Wade's book is a superb achievement.

The Rules Don’t Apply to These Nonconformist Novelists

The Rules Don’t Apply to These Nonconformist Novelists

Ian Haydn Smith's succinct biographies in Cult Writers: 50 Nonconformist Novelists You Need to Know entice even seasoned bibliophiles.

What’s Love Got To Do with It? Shakespeare’s ‘Venus & Adonis’

What’s Love Got To Do with It? Shakespeare’s ‘Venus & Adonis’

The worn trope—Time Devours All Things (tempus edax rerum)—is true for human beings, says Shakespeare: if you’re a mortal, death lurks at the heart of the very thing you most want. During a plague, or a pandemic, it’s wanting that endangers us.

How to Read Terry Eagleton’s ‘How to Read Literature’

How to Read Terry Eagleton’s ‘How to Read Literature’

Prolific literary critic Terry Eagleton tries to explain how but doesn't tell why, we shouldn't read about vacuum cleaners in How to Read Literature.

Joanna Russ, the First Minister of Feminist Science Fiction

Joanna Russ, the First Minister of Feminist Science Fiction

Gwyneth Jones's masterly account of the life and times of Joanna Russ serves as a timely reminder of the strides made in visibility and diversity in science fiction literature —and the distance still left to traverse.