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Articles by Lianne Habinek

Grand Affiliations

August 1st, 2014
Grand Affiliations

Metaphor: a tool for poets and rhetoricians, but also, perhaps, the way that people connect to the world at large. Lianne Habinek reviews a gamesome new study by the great literary critic Denis Donoghue.

A Question, an Answer, and a Death

June 1st, 2011

Cinema lore has it that Jean-Luc Godard read only the first and last three pages of King Lear before making his film adaptation. Lianne Habinek suggests this may have helped him get at the play’s essence.

“Did you en-joy the de-mon-stra-tion?”

January 1st, 2010

Boilerplate traveled the world at the turn of the twentieth century in attempt to dissuade humans from their many wars. Finally, his biography (can such things be?) is revealed, and Lianne Habinek reveals its astonishing contents

Oh Naomi

October 1st, 2009

In her new story collection Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It, Maile Meloy depicts men and women (but mostly men) who want to eat their cake and have it too. Lianne Habinek tells us how successful these characters, and Meloy, turn out to be.

Mystery Balls

July 1st, 2009

Flotsam and jetsam clutter Javier Calvo’s novel Wonderful World, but do they choke its flow? Lianne Habinek, our steadfast guide, charts its course.

The Crowing of Corncrakes

May 1st, 2009

The Decemberists seem benign enough, but their songs are blood-dimmed with rape, drownings, and even cannibalism. The body count rises on their new release The Hazards of Love, but Lianne Habinek also discovers fresh wellsprings of feeling.

Message in a Klein Bottle

April 1st, 2009

Celebrated young novelist Jesse Ball’s latest, The Way through Doors, twists and pulls at the nature of narrative itself. Lianne Habinek threads the labyrinth.

Who Moved My Charioteer?

March 1st, 2009

In How We Decide, Jonah Lehrer tries to anatomize the choosing brain. Lianne Habinek – with an assist from some guy named Plato – anatomizes the anatomizer.

Finely Woven Webs

January 1st, 2009

Poetry meets anatomy when Lianne Habinek reads Donne, who, in “The Flea” and other poems, aimed to discover the seat of the soul

Is There a Doctor in the House?

October 1st, 2008

Neuroscience? In Elsinore? Lianne Habinek has Hamlet on the brain and goes at the question in book and volume. You may never think about Hamlet, or think about thinking, in the same way again.

The Wordiness of the Long-Distance Runner

September 1st, 2008

While confabulating postmodern fictions, Haruki Murakami has also been running – first to stay fit, then at grueling length. Contributing editor Lianne Habinek jogs us through his book on the subject, What I Talk about when I Talk about Running.


August 1st, 2008

Lianne Habinek reviews Katie Hafner’s A Romance on Three Legs and gives up all the gossip on one of the most strange and successful relationships in music history, the ménage a trois among Glenn Gould, a blind piano tuner, and a one-of-a-kind Steinway concert grand.


July 1st, 2008

Shannon Burke’s novel Black Flies returns to the scene of the crimes of his debut Safelight, the soul-scarring world of Harlem paramedics. Lianne Habinek rides along through these dark alleys and shows us how Burke achieves dramatic power without dipping into sentimentality.

Beautiful Corpses

June 1st, 2008

In The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments, George Johnson assays the experiments he sees as most elegantly defining the wonder of the scientific method. But with their reliance on chemicals, voltages, and vivisections, are these experiments really “beautiful?” Lianne Habinek straps on her lab goggles and takes a look.

Weirder Than Real: The Films of Michel Gondry

April 1st, 2008
Weirder Than Real: The Films of Michel Gondry

Lianne Habinek forges into the beguiling part-adult, part-childish, part-real, part-dreamlike films of Michel Gondry.

Lost in the Verisylum

February 1st, 2008

Lianne Habinek maps the postmodern mazes of Jesse Ball’s maddening, memorable debut novel Samedi the Deafness.

Lab v. Library

January 1st, 2008

Jonah Lehrer’s Proust Was a Neuroscientist attempts to reconcile the ageless turf war between the arts and sciences, but, as Lianne Habinek reports, Lehrer’s propositions may leave both sides feelings shortchanged.