Tag Archives: Winter 2013

Night Film

Marisha Pessl Random House ($28) by John Pistelli Marisha Pessl’s well-received 2006 debut, Special Topics in Calamity Physics, is a murder mystery and conspiratorial political thriller hidden within a winning Bildungsroman. But it also makes a strained and unsuccessful attempt at clever lyricism in the manner of Nabokov, even to the point of borrowing the […]

Constellation of Genius

1922, Modernism Year One Kevin Jackson Farrar, Straus and Giroux ($30) by Steve Danzis In 1922, T. S. Eliot wrote a surprisingly emotional eulogy for the bawdy music-hall performer Marie Lloyd. Referring to the colonized natives of Melanesia who were “dying from pure boredom,” he warns: When every theatre has been replaced by 100 cinemas, […]

The Visioneers

How a Group of Elite Scientists Pursued Space Colonies, Nanotechnologies, and a Limitless Future W. Patrick McCray Princeton University Press ($29.95) ‎ by Ryder W. Miller W. Patrick McCray’s The Visioneers tells the tale of a few charismatic people who tried to change the world through the invention of new machines. The book does not […]

Twelve Views from the Distance

Mutsuo Takahashi Translated by Jeffrey Angles University of Minnesota Press ($19.95) by Amanda Vail Just what is the nature of memory? It is at once tenuous and concrete, easily grasped yet often fleeting. Mutsuo Takahashi believes there are three different kinds of memories: those that are pure recollection, those that originate from the stories of […]

Torment Saint

The Life of Elliott Smith William Todd Schultz Bloomsbury ($27) by Scott F. Parker Since 2010, William Todd Schultz has been the editor of the Inner Lives series from Oxford University Press. The series, which includes titles on John Lennon and George W. Bush and one by Schultz on Truman Capote, employs psychobiography: an approach […]

Hi, This Is Conchita

Santiago Roncagliolo translated by Edith Grossman Two Lines Press ($17.95) by Jenn Mar Santiago Roncagliolo's latest story collection is a black comedy that exposes the incongruities of modern life. For the Peruvian author who was listed as Granta's "Best Young Spanish-Language Novelist," no subject is too profane. His stories follow some of literature's most perversely-misguided […]


Adam Langer Open Road ($16.99) by James Naiden Adam Langer probably could not have published this absurdist literary thriller if J. D. Salinger were still alive; the late novelist was well known for employing lawyers to chase off everyone from sycophants to fans. His concoction follows an early middle-aged writer named Adam Langer who doesn’t […]


Elizabeth Treadwell Dusie Press ($15) by Lightsey Darst You can easily read Elizabeth Treadwell’s Virginia or the mud-flap girl on a single descent from altitude if you like: the book’s ninety-some pages are sparely printed with brief, short-lined poems whose syntax isn’t so much compressed, in the manner of the Metaphysicals, as eroded, seemingly beyond […]


Brenda Hillman Wesleyan University Press ($22.95) by Erin Lyndal Martin In the year 6939, a time capsule buried as part of a 1939 World’s Fair exhibition is scheduled to be opened. Since the contents were cataloged and much of the element of surprise will be gone, it is difficult to estimate how much interest this […]


Hannah Gamble Fence Books ($15.95) by Mark Eleveld Hannah Gamble’s first book of poems, Your Invitation to a Modest Breakfast, was selected by Bernadette Mayer as a National Poetry Series winner. Told in three sections with a wide breadth of lyricism, the poems focus on gender, family, and the idea of aging, with a consistent […]