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Pacazo by Roy Kesey
Is the sheer bulk of a book worth celebration? Roy Kesey has never gone beyond novella-length before, but his novel, Pacazo, runs more than five hundred pages, bulging with detail and incident, with everything from midnight snacks to invasive insects. It's a shaggy-dog tale, one that eventually...
Night Soul and Other Stories (American Literature) Signed Edition by Joseph McElroy
It's best to read Joseph McElroy's Night Soul slowly, warily even, because you're never far from an unexpected swerve, a surprising shift of gears, or a disclosure of inconspicuous import. Not all these sly, oblique, yet affecting stories are set in the city, but the mode is always urban to the...
The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver
Princeton Architectural Press is about to release a book on Frida Kahlo that features a cache of purportedly rediscovered paintings, journals, and trinket-laced archival materials, which experts are denouncing as fake. The publication looks to do little for the reputation and life story of the...
Generosity: An Enhancement by Richard Powers
An international student is pleased that her professor doesn't consider himself religious. "Good," the young woman responds. "I'm nothing, either. I'm a Maghreb Algerian Kabyle Catholic Atheist French Canadian on a student visa." Richard Powers always has a lot going on, but he's never had a...
A Short History of Women by Kate Walbert
Multigenerational novels about women often elicit analogies to tapestries -- relationships are interwoven, themes are intertwined, and there is much braiding of narrative strands. Let us not likewise domesticate Kate Walbert's remarkable novel A Short History of Women, which traces five generations ...
Seven Notebooks: Poems by Campbell McGrath
It's easy to forget that American poetry was not always as friendly to the middle class as it is today. In the first half of the last century, a generation of poets who grew up reading Flaubert accepted Epater le bourgeois as the Second Commandment of their art, just after Pound's "Make it new...
The Craftsman by Richard Sennett
More than four decades have passed since readers made the acquaintance of a figure who has assumed an almost mythological role in the stories that are sometimes told about the way we live now. This was the bricoleur, introduced into the cultural conversation by Claude Lévi-Strauss in the opening...
Hotel de Dream: A New York Novel by Edmund White
"Write what you know" has been an axiom of fiction writing since the '20s, when Sherwood Anderson urged it on the young Faulkner; Edmund White took it to heart in his third novel, still his best-known work, A Boy's Own Story (1982). White's coming-of-age tale led to a series of autobiographical...