Simon Van Booy

  • Follow the Reader

    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 a first-person style, enriched with dialogue, characters, superb pacing, and sizzling rhetoric. It’s easy to imagine what a sharp and engaging lecturer she is—if, as her introduction has it, she has indeed “stopped believing that ‘theory’ had the power to ruin literature for anyone, or that it was