How Awful Is It? Liz Nugent’s Little Cruelties (2020)

2020-11-12T12:47:19-05:00

Betty Smith gave simple advice to writers: “First: Be understanding always. Keep the understanding you have and add on to it.” As the author of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1943)—a best-selling novel that challenged the myth of poverty as a choice, and allowed low/no-wage characters to demonstrate courage

How Awful Is It? Liz Nugent’s Little Cruelties (2020)2020-11-12T12:47:19-05:00

Jean-Michel Fortier’s The Unknown Huntsman (2014; 2016)

2020-07-30T14:36:07-05:00

In a few weeks, Jean-Michel Fortier’s new novel The Electric Baths will be reviewed in the new issue of World Literature Today, translated by Katherine Hastings. A galloping read populated by an inordinate number of widows and tragic ends. There are some bloody bits but you're caught between gasping

Jean-Michel Fortier’s The Unknown Huntsman (2014; 2016)2020-07-30T14:36:07-05:00

Two Summer Debuts: Swimming and Malt Shops

2020-07-21T15:44:18-05:00

When variations on the 30-something-°-day populate the ten-day forecast, summer reading is ON. (That’s 80s and 90s, for those of us who still get hotter in °F.) Books like Daven McQueen’s The Invincible Summer of Juniper Jones and Taylor Hale’s The Summer I Drowned rise to the top of

Two Summer Debuts: Swimming and Malt Shops2020-07-21T15:44:18-05:00

Mavis Gallant’s “The Fenton Child”

2020-06-19T15:53:33-05:00

“‘Newborn, they’ve got these huge peckers,’ said Mr. Fenton. ‘I mean, really developed.’” When it comes to writing about Mavis Gallant’s short stories, I often want to begin with their first sentences. Sometimes there is such a swell of emotion at the story’s end, a marvelling at how entire

Mavis Gallant’s “The Fenton Child”2020-06-19T15:53:33-05:00

Mavis Gallant’s “The Sunday after Christmas” (1988)

2020-01-29T10:43:46-05:00

It seems to me that Mavis Gallant must have spent an inordinate amount of time on terraces. As places that seem associated with a view, this seems appropriate for a writer with a penchant for observation and acuity. But even while terraces seem related to looking outward – especially

Mavis Gallant’s “The Sunday after Christmas” (1988)2020-01-29T10:43:46-05:00
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