Reviews, reflections, conversations.

Judy Blume

It's Me, Jessica

By Jessica Machado
"Now I realize how radical an upbringing this was for 1970, and how ahead of its time this issue was: How does a half-Jewish, half-Christian girl identify when not everyone in her community is as progressive as her parents? It is not surprising that über-born-again types are still pushing to ban Are You There God? from schools. But Blume's agenda is only to portray Margaret with honesty." more

The Conventionalist
Book of Disquiet

Paragraph Break as Event: Robert Boswell's Tumbledown

By Patrick McGinty
"The novel's size and scope are made possible by that tightly wound first chapter in which there are no space breaks, the paragraphs sturdy and sure in their close quarters even as the plot lines swerve madly and eventually sprout new narrative avenues." more

Mostly Novels

Ideas vs. Ideals: Dostoevksy's The Idiot

By Emily Burns Morgan
"Whenever a nation or group no longer shares an adhesive agent—such as religion or a stratified social system—considerations like those taken up in The Idiot become relevant." more


Art and Chess: Duchamp in Conversation

"Probably the two things pleased me because they opposed one another—the two attitudes—as a form of completeness. And I was not on one side any more than on the other side." Marcel Duchamp: The Afternoon Interviews by Calvin Tomkins. Review by Alan Limnis. more

Mostly Novels
Paul Auster

The Echo of a Moment:
Paul Auster's Sunset Park

By Emily Burns Morgan
"Auster moves from old to young, showcasing the way that thinking changes based not only on character, experience, and current events, but also age." more

Book of Disquiet

Writing the Self as Other: Pessoa's Book of Disquiet

"The Book of Disquiet is essentially fragmentary, examining through those fragments not what has become of the modernist cliché of a search for an 'authentic self,' but the dissemblance of a self that melts into its work, the text, and the landscape." By Sarah Kruse more

Ben Stroud

High & Low, Smart & Subtle: Ben Stroud's Byzantium

The swervy narrative moves in Byzantium don't adhere to genres so much as they dissolve them. By Patrick McGinty more

The Conventionalist
Noviolet Bulawayo

How I Read and Why It's Humbling

By Patrick McGinty
I want to believe the impulse to compare comes from good intentions, that its by-product is not stereotype but instead a firmer understanding of fiction, yet it feels as though I'm discriminating in ways both good and bad. Maybe I know way less than I think... more


Crafted, designed, choreographed, performed.


Art form of the twentieth century.


Stolen licks and backstage passes.


Investigations and lived experience.


At the Flight 93 Memorial Visiting Shanksville

At the Flight 93 Memorial

By Patrick McGinty
On the left in place of a fence is a triangular charcoal cylinder, a prism that points up, its base grounded, and that's when you realize it is out there. It's not the port-o-johns or the marsh or the guys fussing with...more


Language, pushed.


Invented worlds, invented selves.


Reports from court and field.


NFL Picks Scary Accuracy

NFL Week by Week

By Pete Tothero
Tothero outpicks the experts through ineffectual living, personifying teams in false or ridiculous ways, and applying the worst tropes of pop psychology. Week 3. Week 2. Week 1.