German-Austrian novelist Daniel Kehlmann's Fame is a Nabokovian puzzle, a game of hide-and-seek, and a playful reflection on cultural renown and the lack thereof. Told in nine episodes that initially appear discrete but then rapidly connect with one another, the book focuses on three celebrities,
"At twenty-six, Karl Floor had had a hard life: father dead, mother dead, stepdad sick and mean, siblings none, friends none, foes so offhanded in their molestations that they did not make a crisp enough focal point for his energies." This is the first sentence of You Were Wrong, Matthew Sharpe's
"An old crappy dyke with half a brain leaking a book." That's how Eileen Myles describes herself in her autobiographical new novel, and it makes me think of Susan Sontag's journals, in which the late writer anguishes about a phenomenon she calls "leakage": "my mind is dribbling out through my mouth."
Since its christening in the late 1980s by science-fiction writer K. W. Jeter, the steampunk subgenre has undergone few changes to its gaslight-romance-by-way-of-Wired formula. Along with Jeter, authors James Blaylock and Tim Powers translated the dystopian fables of William Gibson and Philip K. Dick
Racial identity and aesthetics may not spell fun to most, and poems about those topics even less so. But a strong sense of play infuses Thomas Sayers Ellis's Skin, Inc.: Identity Repair Poems. This is a poet who can use the same word eight times in a single stanza without sounding redundant: "coloring
There are two kinds of people in America. The problem is, we can't figure out what those are. Maoists and Tea Baggers? PC lovers and Apple devotees? Letterman fans and Leno watchers? While the twoness of our national family is undeniable, the dividing line has proved quite impossible to fix. Two
The great English poet John Clare spent the last twenty-three years of his life in the Northampton General Lunatic Asylum; it was his second extended stay in a madhouse. When he died there, on May 20, 1864, his poetry was virtually forgotten. After a frenzy of celebrity in the 1820s, when he was
Like the mix of ingredients used to make the titular dessert in The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, Aimee Bender's novel is a blend of old-fashioned coming-of-age story and newfangled horror tale that becomes a less-than-satisfying confection about love, loss, and lunacy, and what they taste like