| Oct 5, 2010
| 6:26 PM
'The Thieves of Manhattan: A Novel'
By Adam Langer Spiegel & Grau, 259 pp., $24
By their chunky glasses, facial scruff, skinny jeans, and iPhones you shall know them: New York’s latest crop of aspiring male fiction writers, fresh from the provinces...
| Oct 25, 2010
| 5:36 PM
"Muriel Spark: The Biography"
By Martin Stannard
W.W. Norton. 656 pages. $35
By nearly any measure Muriel Spark was a major 20th-century writer -- of longer fiction (twenty two novels); short fiction (sixty+ stories, published and republished in six...
| May 4, 2008
In the long and often embarrassing history of intellectuals' attempts to grapple with pop culture, there are, at least, a few high points. One of them is the work of the late Leslie Fiedler, the garrulous and provocative critic of literature who could...
| Nov 14, 2010
Mark Twain was not quite 50 when he published "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" in February 1885, and in so doing, changed American literature. Until then, many of our writers had flirted with vernacular expression, most notably Thomas Paine, whose...
| May 16, 2010
The Eyes of Willie McGee
A Tragedy of Race, Sex, and Secrets in the Jim Crow South
Harper: 404 pp., $26.99
In Jim Crow's dark closet, countless skeletons lie moldering and forgotten. For every "cold case" prosecution that brings a doddering...
| May 30, 2010
Missing a Beat
The Rants and Regrets of Seymour Krim
Edited and with an introduction by Mark Cohen
Syracuse University Press: 296 pp., $29.95
We hear a disproportionate amount from the writers who "made it." The ones who hustled, stroked the right...
| Jun 27, 2010
The 10 photographers in "Engaged Observers," opening June 29 at the Getty Museum, are at once storytellers, witnesses, advocates for justice, investigative journalists, consciousness raisers, evidence gatherers and educators. They're also something...
| Feb 21, 2010
The Room and the Chair
Alfred A. Knopf: 316 pp., $25.95
Lorraine Adams is a singular and important American writer. "The Room and the Chair" establishes this without question: It is remarkable for its ambitions and its...
| Nov 1, 2009
The Suicide Run
Five Tales of the Marine Corps
Random House: 198 pp., $24
The business -- and I use the word advisedly -- of posthumous publication is a troubling one. We honor our dear dead. Yet there are certain kinds of attention...
| Dec 18, 2010
| 3:21 PM
Merriam-Webster defines memoir as a "narrative composed from personal experience." It may encompass the entirety of a person's life, or only a portion of it. This sets it apart from a traditional autobiography, which is usually a chronological account...
| Jan 14, 2011
| 10:29 AM
"Stet: An Editor's Life"
By Diana Athill
Grove Press, 256 pages, $13
When people you respect - and like - recommend a book, don't delay, lest you find yourself full of reproach for missing it. That's how I now find myself about this memoir, which came...