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Walkin' and talkin'

Unguided Zen-like tours through NYC
It counts as some small death, the blinders-on result of routine, when instead of noticing how the light hits the river or the man in front of the noodle shop crouches as if he'd got no bones, your thoughts pinball from your sandwich to an e-mail you want to write to a ticking of your to-do list.
By: NINA MACLAUGHLIN  |  March 09, 2010


Small wonders

Quirks of Literature Dept.
The books — a quartet of them, each five-by-five, smaller than a CD case — feel like treasures, handsome little volumes, a different gem of a story in each.
By: NINA MACLAUGHLIN  |  February 03, 2010


Have a nice future

Blake Butler rains gravel and glass
Blake Butler rains gravel and glass
By: NINA MACLAUGHLIN  |  September 09, 2009


A girl's guide to Boston boys

Stop looking for love in all the wrong places
Autumn opens itself wide with possibility. And Boston begins to crackle with fresh energy (you'll feel it), as the city spreads its arms to thousands of new humans. New brains and bodies abuzz with all sorts of anticipation. The feeling of fall: potential .
By: NINA MACLAUGHLIN  |  September 04, 2009


Review: In the Devil's Territory by Kyle Minor

Kyle Minor's book of secrets
In Kyle Minor's dark debut collection of stories, personal secrets always exact a terrible price.
By: NINA MACLAUGHLIN  |  February 25, 2009


Asta in the Wings

Youth view told in an adult voice
Jan Elizabeth Watson was reluctant, at first, to set her dreamy first novel in Maine, afraid of marginalizing herself as a "Maine writer."
By: NINA MACLAUGHLIN  |  January 28, 2009


Dead end

Sam Mendes's not so Revolutionary Road
It's a masterful, devastating portrait of a marriage crumbling and a merciless critique of the torpor and predictability of 1950's suburbia.
By: NINA MACLAUGHLIN  |  December 30, 2008


Ghost writer

The haunted world of Kelly Link
Salted throughout Kelly Link’s stories, you’ll find Buffy , Bust , Doc Martens, IM-ing, Target, Google, Vicks VapoRub, a T-shirt that reads I’M SO GOTH I SHIT TINY VAMPIRES.  
By: NINA MACLAUGHLIN  |  October 02, 2008


Literary import

Ploughshares lands a new editor
One of the first things Ladette Randolph tells me is that she’s a fifth-generation Nebraskan, that her great-great grandparents settled there, that the landscape there, particularly in the western part of the state, where her novel is set, is “like being in the middle of the ocean — that kind of erasure.”
By: NINA MACLAUGHLIN  |  September 24, 2008


Horse Feathers | House With No Home

Kill Rock Stars (2008)
It’s not a sad album, but it is mournful, in the hushed and satisfying way that Sunday afternoons in November can be.
By: NINA MACLAUGHLIN  |  September 23, 2008


David Foster Wallace — 1962–2008

Overhead baggage
A story called “Forever Overhead” by David Foster Wallace appeared in the 1992 edition of Best American Short Stories .
By: NINA MACLAUGHLIN  |  September 26, 2008


Hoot and challah

Silver Jews, Middle East Downstairs, September 5, 2008
Watching Berman on stage, you couldn’t be sure. Is he into it? Does he like this?
By: NINA MACLAUGHLIN  |  September 10, 2008


Love us, don't leave us

Advice from sadder but wiser Bostonians
Let’s skip the sugarcoating. Boston can be a tricky place.
By: NINA MACLAUGHLIN  |  August 21, 2009


Out of this world

Benjamin Rosenbaum’s The Ant King
The worlds Rosenbaum creates feel less like a separate or “alternate” reality and more like a colorful, if complicated, extension of the one we know.
By: NINA MACLAUGHLIN  |  August 26, 2008


Parlor salon

Spreading the words in Salem
Spreading the words in Salem
By: NINA MACLAUGHLIN  |  July 16, 2008


Exte: Hair Extensions

Creepy and bizarro hair-raising horror
The film rises above satire with chilling and deftly shot set pieces of hair strangling, flinging, and burying its victims.
By: NINA MACLAUGHLIN  |  July 16, 2008


My Father My Lord

Hushed, dun-colored, and beautifully shot
Volach overdoes the quoting from the Torah, but the intimacy of each shot and the quiet force from each character elevate the film to the level of parable.
By: NINA MACLAUGHLIN  |  June 25, 2008


Confessions of an editor

DeWitt Henry's candid new collection of essays meditates on manhood
There’s a quiet courage in these essays, and a revelatory sense of the continuing challenge of pressing on.
By: NINA MACLAUGHLIN  |  June 20, 2008


A Jihad for Love

Potent subject matter overshadowed by special effects
Homosexuality is illegal and highly punishable in the Muslim world (being stoned to death is a possibility); the faces of many of Sharma’s subjects are blurred to conceal their identity.
By: NINA MACLAUGHLIN  |  June 25, 2008


Bigger, Stronger, Faster*

Steroids and a culture of competition
The film, both informative and poignant, is peopled with a cross-section of users, experts, politicians, pro athletes, and gym rats with melon-sized biceps.
By: NINA MACLAUGHLIN  |  June 04, 2008



Potent but trudging
As one activist says, “It’s the naïveté of young people that can change history.”
By: NINA MACLAUGHLIN  |  May 28, 2008

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