| Apr 13, 2012
| 1:42 PM
Each novelist requires circumstance — a situation to describe, from which a conflict arises — and the ivy-covered college hall or dormitory room provides such context readily. It would take research and, thereafter, expertise to write about...
| May 18, 2012
| 11:25 AM
Earlier this year, when Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed a 100-book required reading list for his compatriots, it provoked anxiety, rekindling memories of Soviet-era censorship. The furor underscored an important point: that literature plays a...
| Jun 2, 2012
When a book flies off the shelves by the millions within a month of publication and zooms to the top of the New York Times best-seller list, it's safe to assume that whatever its literary merit (or lack thereof), it probably is not a good candidate for...
| Nov 25, 2011
| 2:12 PM
With all due respect to Stanley Kubrick's excellent “Lolita,” Rainer Werner Fassbinder's 1978 English-language version of Vladimir Nabokov's “Despair” remains the greatest big-screen Nabokov adaptation. (Hiring Tom Stoppard to...
| Jul 22, 2011
| 12:41 PM
A boy moves away from his small-town central Illinois home after his father murders a tenant farmer. Years later, an occasional childhood playmate ignores the boy in a high school corridor. Out of that awkward, wordless moment emerged "So Long, See You...
| Jun 15, 2008
The Eaves of Heaven
A Life in Three Wars
Andrew X. Pham
Harmony Books: 302 pp., $24.95
Only its loss defines a golden age. Andrew X. Pham's story of Pham Van Thong, his father, is ostensibly one of devastation. A young Vietnamese loses his ancestral...
| Mar 23, 2008
By Ed Park
After "American," the most overused but irresistible prefix for titles might be "The Secret History of." Unscientific trend-spotters (me) attribute the popularity of this modern-day usage to Donna Tartt's 1992 novel, "The Secret History."...
| Nov 5, 2009
There are people who love books, people who love to collect books and people who love books, particularly rare ones, so much that they're willing to steal them. Books coveted by collectors can be quite valuable -- say, a first Italian edition of...
| Jun 21, 2009
What We Were Doing and Where We Were Going
Dalkey Archive Press: 102 pp., $12.95 paper
What do André Gide, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Yasushi Inoue, Vladimir Nabokov and Tommaso Landolfi have in common?
They are authors whose work inspired the...
| Nov 15, 2009
The Original of Laura (Dying Is Fun)
Edited by Dmitri Nabokov
Alfred A. Knopf: 280 pp., $35
In the fall of 1976, a newspaper contacted Vladimir Nabokov in his Swiss refuge and asked him which books he had recently read. He responded...
| Nov 29, 2009
While assembling my notes for a review of the Library of America anthology "American Fantastic Tales: Terror and the Uncanny" (Library of America, two volumes, edited by Peter Straub: "From Poe to the Pulps," 746 pp., $35; "From the 1940s to Now," 714 pp....