Gourmet, as anyone with even the vaguest interest in food knows, is gone. That this is cause for sober reflection practically goes without saying. It was a cornerstone of the food-writing world, one that nurtured adventurous cooks long before most people in America knew what an artichoke was.
The Silver Hearted arrives emblazoned with a jacket blurb by Edmund White, who compares the book favorably to Heart of Darkness. This is true in at least one way: both novels are about a man on a boat. In McConnell's case, the boat is a "side-wheeler" called the Myrrha, which has been hired by the
When the first editor's note appears early in Macedonio Fernández's The Museum of Eterna's Novel, you aren't quite sure it wasn't written by the author in one of his alternate guises. But this is only the beginning of such playfulness. To American readers, Macedonio is not the household name that
The Gin Closet, the first novel by 26-year old Leslie Jamison, begins strikingly: "On Christmas I found Grandma Lucy lying on linoleum. She'd fallen. The refrigerator hummed behind her naked body like a death rattle." This is a promising opening: dramatic but short of bombastic, lyrical without
The most gifted essayists are often just brilliant storytellers. Such is the case with Elif Batuman in her debut collection, The Possessed. A teacher at Stanford University, she has published some of this work in the New Yorker, n+1, and Harper's. Rather boldly for a tyro essayist, Batuman employs
On top of everything else, we now import our human-interest stories from China. Chinese news of the weird—like the recent story of the Shenzhen policeman who drank himself to death at a banquet and was honored for falling in the line of duty—makes US headlines. But longtime New Yorker writer Peter
A subtle misanthropy pervades Justin Taylor's debut story collection, Everything Here Is the Best Thing Ever. Taylor's heroes—mostly males ranging from twitchy kids to restless thirty-somethings—are reliably uncomfortable in their own skins, embracing risk in an attempt to salvage some sense of
Reading The Three Weissmanns of Westport, the new novel by Cathleen Schine, is a curious experience. Even as you turn the pages, following the genteel misadventures of the titular clan—the aging mother, Betty Weissmann, and her two middle-aged, lovelorn daughters, Annie and Miranda—the book seems
We all tell ourselves lies at some point or another to soothe our social anxieties, our awkwardness. "He's not staring at me because my dress is totally inappropriate for this party, it's because he's overwhelmed with desire." Or the favorite of mothers comforting their bullied junior high school
If ever you have reason to step out of an airport in Peru, Kenya, or another of the places in Ted Conover's latest book of reportage, you will preserve your life by following one simple procedure. Ignore the scrum of eager cab drivers at the door and instead proceed to the edge of the parking lot.