Brain Candy Sale


The National


Partitions by Amit Majmudar

The Past Is a Foreign Country

A review by Jacob Silverman

Like some other North American writers of his generation -- Chris Adrian and Rivka Galchen come to mind -- Amit Majmudar is a trained physician, working as a diagnostic nuclear radiologist in Ohio. (Galchen no longer practises medicine.) He is also an accomplished poet, having been published in the New Yorker and a swathe of US literary journals, and honoured with inclusion in Best American Poetry 2007. It's the tendency of a critic to try to divine details of an author's sensibility from even a sparse biography, but in this case, Majmudar's background offers some insight into the nature of his body of work.

A keen observer, Majmudar writes poems heavy with sensory detail; it drips off stanzas, like rich fat off a fresh roast. His scientific background emerges in poems like Matter and Antimatter, which compares the meeting of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes to the titular concepts. Sometimes his technical grounding serves as a kind of hedge against sentimentality, as in "The...

Previously Reviewed by The National
Sort: by date | by title | by author

Suicide (French Literature) by Edouard Leve

It's a widely debated, though unexplained, fact that writers and artists are more likely to commit suicide than average. Such occurrences tend to fundamentally change the public perception of a writer, and this is perhaps suicide's most singular and fascinating aspect: it is the one act within all...

Diary of a Very Bad Year: Confessions of an Anonymous Hedge Fund Manager by N+1 (cor)

Jim Barnett, the title character of Mary McCarthy's story "A Portrait of the Intellectual as a Yale Man", is a genial and self-assured American liberal who becomes radicalised -- however temporarily and unsystematically -- following the crash of 1929. He is modelled on various real-life figures...

More Than Three Decades of Quality Writing and Criticism

The National Book Critics Circle, founded in 1974, honors outstanding writing and fosters a national conversation about reading, criticism, and literature. To learn about how to join, click here.

  • back to top


Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at