Sarah L. Courteau

  • Into the Wild

    When Karen Russell’s first book, the story collection St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, was published in 2006, it was hailed as dazzling, confident, and inventive. But another adjective has been applied to the author herself: young. Granta listed her among its Best Young American Novelists, and she was featured last summer in the New Yorker’s “20 Under 40” issue of America’s best younger fiction writers. (Russell will turn thirty later this year.) Now her novel has arrived, packaged as another precocious early accomplishment.

    As routine as it is to discuss a young writer primarily

  • culture June 16, 2009

    The Food of a Younger Land by Mark Kurlansky

    Much of today’s food writing describes extreme fare, from molecular gastronomists who present bison on a pine branch festooned with candy canes to state-fair vendors who serve deep-fried Twinkies. But what about everyday meals cooked in America’s kitchens, both now and in the past? Mark Kurlansky’s The Food of a Younger Land, a collection of anecdotes, essays, recipes, and food lore gathered in the late 1930s and early ’40s by the Works Progress Administration’s Federal Writers’ Project, reminds us that what we eat and how we fix it is the bread and butter of the people’s history.

    A few years

  • The Wright Thing

    T. C. Boyle is getting in touch with his feminine side. His last novel, Talk Talk (2006), was his first to feature a woman in a leading role. The Women, which clearly announces his intention to again focus on the fairer sex, is a lushly complex saga of the wives and lovers who trailed, like geese flying in formation, behind Frank Lloyd Wright.

    The fabled architect makes a tempting subject for fiction. Early last century, when the long nose of the law reached into people’s bedrooms, his personal life regularly made headlines. In the 2007 novel Loving Frank, Nancy Horan imagined the affair