The title of critic David Levi Strauss's new book, paired with his reputation for engaging political subjects, suggests From Head to Hand: Art and the Manual might be a fruitful addition to the recent spate of books that link craftsmanship to broader questions about economic worth. The best known of
There's probably not a living American writer who has so comprehensively mined the comic possibilities of that particular anguished, hapless combination of the overeducated and the underachieving as Sam Lipsyte. Against all odds, his heroes refuse to succeed, and they and we are rewarded with the
From the time I was eight up until a little over a week ago, I truly believed that no one in this world could match my blind infatuation with the oddities, obscenities, and romantic notions of Greek mythology. I will even go so far as to divulge that, at the tender age of ten, after weeping
The West's post-9/11 preference for information-boggle over truth-telling gets a blunt reckoning in The Room and the Chair, Lorraine Adams's forceful follow-up to her well-received 2004 novel, Harbor. Adams sidesteps individual blame for this systemic moral torpor (the events take place at the end
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