Literary Fiction

RECENT REVIEWS

Dancing in the Air

Dancing in the Air

EVE KOSOFSKY SEDGWICK once wrote of something called the “senile sublime,” a funny, generous, and somewhat revelatory term for the study of geriatric art. She applies the concept, in her book Touc...

A Force That Could Not Be Restrained

A Force That Could Not Be Restrained

GOOD FICTION must transport the reader into an imaginative universe and cast its spell regardless of whether the subject is fictional or a fictional rendering of an actual person. Elizabeth Berg under...

Humor Is Vengeance

Humor Is Vengeance

IT HAS BEEN SAID that great satire is nearly impossible in modern America, because no matter how absurd a mirror one holds up, the culture will always outdo it, always beat one to the punch line. And...

Carnage Hill, or Frank Bascombe’s Late Years

Carnage Hill, or Frank Bascombe’s Late Years

IN THE SECOND PARAGRAPH of Richard Ford’s 1986 novel The Sportswriter, right after Ford introduces us to Frank Bascombe, the character who has gone on to occupy the author’s attentions for the bet...

Inadvertent Cruelty

Inadvertent Cruelty

IN ONE OF HIS childhood’s grimmer chapters, the novelist Colm Tóibín and his younger brother, Niall — ages eight and four, respectively — were left to stay with their aunt while their mother ...

No Bible Without the Devil

No Bible Without the Devil

JUST AFTER ONE in the morning on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 2004, two teenage cellmates at the Preston Youth Correctional Facility in Ione, California, were found hanged from their bedframe by the...

This Endanger'd Isle

This Endanger'd Isle

FROM TO THE LIGHTHOUSE ON, the British have produced a series of novels that address empire and its downward trajectory in the most pointed and humane terms, even if the decline is tangential or offst...

Compulsive Individuality

Compulsive Individuality

RELEASED TO GREAT fanfare in 2007, Joshua Ferris’s debut novel Then We Came to the End looked in some ways like an attack on the American worker’s tendency to offer one’s soul to the company. ...

War and Insurgency

War and Insurgency

IT’S EASY to understand why David Bellos and his publisher, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, chose to bring out the French author Daniel Anselme’s debut novel On Leave in its first English translation. ...

You Got Pages?

You Got Pages?

 “IF YOU WANT TO WRITE,” my friend Josh Miller said, “go to Les Plesko at UCLA Extension. He’s the best.” It was 1996, Josh was 19 and about to publish his novel The Mao Game with Morrow...