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Chris Adrian's tragic enchantments

Magic night
Chris Adrian's novels puff you full of delight, then rip your heart out. Adrian's a sadist, maybe. Or maybe he's got the biggest heart of any living writer, so big that it can hold the sweetest thoughts alongside shame and also death — real death, in all its devastation and splendor.
By: EUGENIA WILLIAMSON  |  May 10, 2011

Books list

Jonathan Hayes knows whereof he whiffs

Murder most foul
Forensic scientists, bit players in crime fiction since the era of Sherlock Holmes, became bestseller material in the 1990s with Patricia Cornwell's cut-and-slice procedurals featuring medical examiner Kay Scarpetta.  
By: JUSTINE ELIAS  |  April 19, 2011

PK list2

David Foster Wallace's The Pale King

Final words
All I can do is tell you how I read the book.
By: NINA MACLAUGHLIN  |  April 13, 2011

Mankell list

Mankell says goodbye to his hero — and his readers

No fun
Henning Mankell has no respect for his readers. That's the only conclusion possible after finishing his latest, The Troubled Man , but it has been a long time coming.  
By: CLEA SIMON  |  April 19, 2011


Vowell's America

How Hawaii became "American"
How Hawaii became "American"
By: AMY FINCH  |  March 24, 2011


Authors talking: Spring readings in Boston

By ear
America’s best young novelist, Britain’s most popular mystery writer, a bearded indie rocker, and a dead master populate this spring’s mandatory literary events.
By: EUGENIA WILLIAMSON  |  March 17, 2011

Téa Obreht author of The Tiger's Wife

Téa Obreht 'remembers' the old country

Foreign affairs
For Obreht to set her first novel in a country she hasn’t lived in since the age of 12 shows considerable ambition.
By: EUGENIA WILLIAMSON  |  March 09, 2011

Wesley Stace

Wesley Stace's sublime puzzle book

Ah, sweet music
Early morning, June 23, 1923, a gunshot wakes the neighbors. The resulting discovery -- two persons poisoned, one shot in an apparent murder suicide -- shakes not only quiet Kensington but also the musical world.
By: CLEA SIMON  |  March 01, 2011


The house that House of Sand and Fog built

Son of a famous-author father, novelist Andre Dubus III had to write his own way out of a violent youth
Andre Dubus III collected me at the Newburyport train station last month when the snow piles were already high. We stopped first for a coffee for the road; he asked all the questions: siblings, hometown, are you married?
By: NINA MACLAUGHLIN  |  February 25, 2011

michael macdonaldmichael-macdonald-66.jpg

Michael Patrick MacDonald writes the Dropkicks' backstory

Common ground
Who is Cornelius Larkin, and how did his obituary come to be on the cover of the new Dropkick Murphys disc, Going Out in Style ?    
By: CLEA SIMON  |  February 23, 2011

Fleetwood Mac

Rob Trucks explores Fleetwood Mac

Reading Tusk
It would be nice to think that my 1980s schoolboy aversion to Fleetwood Mac came down to a rigorous training in F.R. Leavis's elevation of "the concrete" over the sentimental.
By: STUART ALLEN  |  February 22, 2011


Strange world

In his stream-of-consciousness thriller University Of Strangers , former punk rocker, label head, and convict Bob Pfeifer turns real life into something really weird
Bob Pfeifer's debut novel, University of Strangers (published by Power City Press, the print arm of the punk label Smog Veil Records), is a fictionalized retelling of a sensational, true-life murder case, as related in the voices of real people.
By: BOB PFEIFER  |  February 16, 2011

Bobby Fischer

Review: Frank Brady searches for Bobby Fischer

Dead end?
Bobby Fischer was (a) a former world chess champion; (b) the greatest chess player who ever lived; (c) an idiot savant; (d) a prodigy; (e) a megalomaniac; (f) anti-Semitic; (g) paranoid; (h) the guy Barbra Streisand had a crush on in high school; (i) all of the above. Correct answers? Definitely (a) , (e) , (f) , (g) , and (!) (h) , and quite possibly (b) , but not (c) or (d) .
By: JEFFREY GANTZ  |  February 15, 2011


20 Astoundingly Bad Romance Novel Covers

Moaning, groaning, and oiled-hunk-boning with Uncle Walter & Co.
Sure, we all love contemplating glistening Adonises, swashbuckling buccaneers, and loincloth-straining savages — but not as much as Uncle Walter does.
By: UNCLE WALTER AND THE WIFE  |  February 13, 2011


I did Sookie Stackhouse

A book snob reveals her whirlwind affair with America's favorite telepathic waitress
What is it about reading and falling in love that invites cliché. When I met Sookie Stackhouse, the heroine of Charlaine Harris's Southern Vampire series, I didn't think much of her. She was right under my nose, but I was blind. But when I fell, oh, did I fall. I daresay Sookie had her way with me. She transformed a self-conscious reader of big, important novels into a dribbling paranormal romance hound. I'm still kind of bitter about it.
By: EUGENIA WILLIAMSON  |  February 15, 2011

The Lover's Dictionary

Love's lexicographer

David Levithan defines affection
As the editorial director at Scholastic, David Levithan is surrounded by emotional stories about adolescents. Being overexposed to such hyperbolic feelings about feelings could easily turn a writer off pursuing such ventures himself — despite the secrets he may have picked up along the way.  
By: SHARON STEEL  |  February 10, 2011


The man in the yellow fur coat

As the Boston Athenaeum stages an Edward Gorey retrospective, his biographer reflects on the artist's lasting legacy
The cultural critic Mark Dery worked as a clerk for Manhattan's Gotham Book Mart in the early '80s. One afternoon, he was taken by surprise.
By: EUGENIA WILLIAMSON  |  February 05, 2011


Poems, prose, and the New Yorker

Elizabeth Bishop goes pop
After John Ashbery described Elizabeth Bishop as "the writer’s writer’s writer," reviewers repeated the witticism as if it were true. Actually, beginning with her first book, Bishop got awards and grants — that master poet politician Robert Lowell was in her corner — that gave her much more public recognition than Merrill's phrase suggests was the case.
By: WILLIAM CORBETT  |  February 02, 2011


Tim Wu, historian of information empires

Net brutality
It's 1934 and an engineer at Bell Labs by the name of Clarence Hickman has a secret machine in his office. It is the only one of its kind in existence.
By: CARLY CARIOLI  |  February 02, 2011


I was a teenage Sandinista

Deb Olin Unferth left college in the '80s to become a Communist Freedom Fighter. It didn't quite work out that way.
As a freshman philosophy major at the University of Colorado, Deb Olin Unferth fell in love with a junior named George. A pious Evangelical, George felt it was his duty to help his Communist brethren in Central America fight against their capitalist oppressors. So he did, and Unferth went with him.
By: EUGENIA WILLIAMSON  |  January 31, 2011


Review: Caroline Leavitt's family Pictures

Photo finish
Love, family, and the moments that change lives forever — these are the potent ingredients that Caroline Leavitt stirs up again and again in her fiction.
By: JULIA HANNA  |  January 27, 2011

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