David Copperfield is Born and is ... A Great Many Other Things As Well

David Copperfield is Born and is … A Great Many Other Things As Well

Another modern reader wrestles with Dickens’ “favorite child”

Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells Absolutely Everything

Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells Absolutely Everything

Allan Gurganus’ huge 80s faux-memoir is a monster book full of big voices and intertwined stories. Yet it struggles at times to rise above its own pure particularity.

So, Raymond Carver

So, Raymond Carver

The short story writer Raymond Carver, who died prematurely at 50, still casts quite a long shadow. If you haven’t read his stories you’re missing a major influence in modern fiction (and a fine writer to boot).

Graceling: Teen Romance with Swords

Graceling: Teen Romance with Swords

Graceling is a workmanlike debut: rather explicit romance between teens with special powers, set in a fairly rudimentary fantasy environment.

How Roald Dahl Got To Be Himself

How Roald Dahl Got To Be Himself

Dahl’s two-volume autobiography offers a wide collection of anecdotes from his school days, his days working for Shell and his time as an RAF pilot in the Second World War. Some suitable for children, some less so.

They Were Forgotten: Bánffy's Transylvanian Tale

They Were Forgotten: Bánffy’s Transylvanian Tale

Expectations run high when you hear about a “forgotten” monument of 20th-century literature. Miklos Banffy’s sprawling, muscular epic of pre-WWI Hungary delivers.

The Conqueror Worm

The Conqueror Worm

The Worm Ouroboros is a curious classic that influenced some major figures in 20th century fantasy. Fans of the chiseled abs of modern commercial fiction may lose patience quickly, but if you’re not familiar with it, it’s worth a look.

Paul Theroux, Mr. Bones: Twenty Stories

Paul Theroux, Mr. Bones: Twenty Stories

The title of Paul Theroux’s new story collection makes me expect something zany, gripping and sardonic. Sardonic they are, zany they may try to be, but gripping they’re not, entirely. Unsettling and unloving are words that come to mind, and I’m flirting with “unwholesome.”

Rank Untended Sprawl: Faulkner's Flags in the Dust

Rank Untended Sprawl: Faulkner’s Flags in the Dust

It’s refreshing to see the the work of one of the greats with its guts sprawled out on the workbench.

Tom Kealey, Thieves I've Known

Tom Kealey, Thieves I’ve Known

I’m reading a lot of short fiction lately. This fact surprises me. For years I’ve found the form distressingly miniature. Worse, quiescent. These are different.