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OLM Favorites: Rarest Spun Heavenmetal

December 1st, 2017
OLM Favorites: Rarest Spun Heavenmetal

A Clockwork Orange turned 50 this year and received the gift of an anniversary edition. Justin Hickey looks anew at the novel Anthony Burgess claimed to have knocked off in three weeks, and which made him famous.

The Ground Beneath Their Feet

July 1st, 2016
The Ground Beneath Their Feet

The promise and the limits of the Arab Spring receive some well-written – and necessarily sobering – reporting in Robert Worth’s A Rage for Order. Greg Waldmann reviews.

Norman Lebrecht’s Album of the Week – Beethoven: symphonies 4 and 5

May 6th, 2016
Norman Lebrecht’s Album of the Week – Beethoven: symphonies 4 and 5

Just months before his death, Nikolaus Harnoncourt made his final attempt to faithfully render Beethoven’s scores into music. Norman Lebrecht assesses his valediction.

Occasional Fiction

May 1st, 2016
Occasional Fiction

As a collection of stories about the complexities of marriage, Reader, I Married Him is good, sometimes even excellent. But how is it as a provocation to rethink Jane Eyre?

Second Glance: The Secret of Prometheus

May 1st, 2016
Second Glance: The Secret of Prometheus

The oldest texts can seem familiar, but they repay attention with strangeness. Robert Minto delves into the religious origins and unresolved mysteries of Prometheus Bound.

Change the Way They Live

May 1st, 2016
Change the Way They Live

As Andrew Bacevich relates in his important new book, US involvement in the Middle East has been characterized by confusion, mistakes, and blundering military force. Greg Waldmann reviews America’s War for the Greater Middle East.

‘Yes, Yes, Yes!’

May 1st, 2016
‘Yes, Yes, Yes!’

To be immortalized by Shakespeare is often also to be caricatured by him; a sumptuous new biography of King Henry IV admirably brings its royal subject out of the Bard’s shadow.

Simulacrum

May 1st, 2016
Simulacrum

The intense problematics of Don DeLillo’s literary preoccupations are on full display in his latest, Zero K. Dan Green explores the legacy of an author’s postmodernism.

It’s a Mystery: “Folly is like regret, it knows no limits”

May 1st, 2016
It’s a Mystery: “Folly is like regret, it knows no limits”

Old loyalties lead to explosive new dangers in two new mystery-thrillers set in North Carolina and Northern Ireland.

Imminent Threat

February 1st, 2016
Imminent Threat

A harrowing new study tries to determine why the myth of torture’s effectiveness persists despite all the evidence – and despite a long line of permanently maimed victims. Greg Waldmann reviews.

Fabergé Monsters

April 1st, 2015
Fabergé Monsters

These fairies of the air are among the most beautiful sights of summer. They’re also 300 million years old and honed killing machines. A new book of photography shows us dragonflies as we’ve never seen them.

There’s the Door, Spaceman

March 1st, 2015
There’s the Door, Spaceman

DC Comics gives writer/artist Darwyn Cooke’s masterpiece The New Frontier, a shrewd and powerful re-imagining of DC’s iconic superheroes, the glorious hardcover edition it deserves. Justin Hickey re-reads.

Capturing the Unphotographable: Mira Jacob’s The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing

August 19th, 2014
Capturing the Unphotographable: Mira Jacob’s <em>The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing</em>

Mira Jacob’s stunning debut A Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing spans continents and generations while exploring the enigmas of art, love, and neurochemistry. Amelia Glaser reviews.

The Art of the Con

March 1st, 2014
The Art of the Con

Years ago, while on the hunt for writing material, Walter Kirn befriended an eccentric, dog-loving raconteur named Clark Rockefeller. Then Rockefeller was charged with murder, kidnapping and identity fraud, and Kirn had his book. G. Robert Ogilvy reviews Blood Will Out.

Pistols and Pearls

March 1st, 2014
Pistols and Pearls

It’s Melbourne in the late 1920s and violence keeps intruding into the elegant world of jazz clubs, cocktails, and fabulous fashion. No matter: Phryne Fisher is on the case.

It’s a Mystery: “The past lies in wait to ambush the present”

March 1st, 2014
It’s a Mystery: “The past lies in wait to ambush the present”

A veteran master of suspense, Gerald Seymour enhances his track record with The Dealer and the Dead. Scott O’Connor’s Half World is a chilling fictional take on a secret CIA mind control program activated in the middle of the last century.

Norman Lebrecht’s Album of the Week – Diana Damrau

October 2nd, 2013
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The songs to My Fair Lady, sung in German? Just one of the idiosyncrasies of Diana Damrau’s irresistible new vocal album.

Norman Lebrecht’s Album of the Week – Down by the Sea

July 24th, 2013
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It’s only July, but Norman Lebrecht may have found his choral album of the year. A review of the magnificent folk songs in Naxos’s “Down by the Sea.”

Norman Lebrecht’s Album of the Week – Conrad Tao

June 12th, 2013
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One of EMI Classics’ final albums, by 19-year-old Conrad Tao, is an instant collectible. But how is the music?

Norman Lebrecht’s CD of the Week – The Edge of Light

April 24th, 2013
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Norman Lebrecht reviews a remarkable recording of little-known piano music by Olivier Messiaen and Kaija Saariaho

Norman Lebrecht’s CD of the Week – Lionel Bringuier & Nelson Freire

April 19th, 2013
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In collaboration with Brazilian soloist Nelson Freire, Wunderkind Lionel Bringuier conducts the 2010 BBC Proms concert in a stirring new DVD release

Book Review: Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles

April 17th, 2013
Book Review: Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles

Ron Currie Jr. is not only the author of the new novel Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles, he is also its protagonist.

The Impossible Magic of Becoming

April 1st, 2013
The Impossible Magic of Becoming

Even the speaker in Jennifer Denrow’s new book knows that the California she imagines is one she’ll never visit, one that cannot possibly be real – but that’s what makes it so alluring.

Master of the Morbid

April 1st, 2013
Master of the Morbid

The lurid pathology of Patrick McGrath’s fiction – its endless procession of madmen, derelicts, and misguided psychiatrists – can often blind us to the fact that he is first of all a historical novelist – and a great one.

The Earl of Gallipoli

April 1st, 2013
The Earl of Gallipoli

The typical image of Winston Churchill comes from the dark days of World War II: a fat, old, bald Prime Minister eloquently defying Hitler’s Germany. But before there was a monument there was a man, as an engaging new biography brings to light.

Of Mice and Men

April 1st, 2013
Of Mice and Men

Why, asks James Meek’s latest novel, should the rich get smoother, easier lives than their less well-paid fellow men? And what can an innovative novelist do with the oft-visited ‘immoral rich versus honorable poor’ premise?

Norman Lebrecht’s CD of the Week – Valentina Lisitsa

March 13th, 2013
Norman Lebrecht’s CD of the Week – Valentina Lisitsa

Youtube sensation Valentina Lisitsa has put out the finest recording of Rachmaninov’s piano concertos in decades. Norman Lebrecht reviews.

Norman Lebrecht’s CD of the Week – The Coral Sea

February 20th, 2013
Norman Lebrecht’s CD of the Week – The Coral Sea

Six works by five living British composers for soprano saxophone – you’re shaking your head, but “The Coral Sea” is one of the musical delights of the year

Norman Lebrecht’s CD of the Week – Scarlatti Illuminated

February 6th, 2013
Norman Lebrecht’s CD of the Week – Scarlatti Illuminated

Domenico Scarlatti has always been overshadowed by his contemporaries Bach and Handel. A new recording of his solo sonatas brings his gorgeous music front and center.

From the Archives: A Map of Faces

February 1st, 2013
From the Archives: A Map of Faces

In 2011, Aleksandar Hemon chooses his favorite short fiction from all across Europe. From our archives, Kevin Frazier celebrated these bracing imports.

Norman Lebrecht’s CD of the Week – Andrzej Panufnik

January 30th, 2013
Norman Lebrecht’s CD of the Week – Andrzej Panufnik

The works of Polish emigre Andrzej Panufnik course with passion and political subtext. Norman Lebrecht reviews a new recording of Symphonies 7 and 8.

CD of the Week – Dinu Lipatti

January 23rd, 2013
CD of the Week – Dinu Lipatti

Romanian pianist Dinu Lipatti died of cancer at age 33, but left behind a treasure trove of adventurous, intellectually satisfying piano music. Norman Lebrecht reviews a new double-CD of Lipatti’s work.

CD of the Week – Elgar, Carter: Cello Concertos

January 15th, 2013
CD of the Week – Elgar, Carter: Cello Concertos

Jacqueline du Pré’s performance of Elgar’s cello concerto is so legendary that few artists have dared to challenge it. Now Alisa Weilerstein does so, in an astonishing new recording. Norman Lebrecht reviews

CD of the Week – Alexandre Tharaud plays Mauricio Kagel

January 2nd, 2013
CD of the Week – Alexandre Tharaud plays Mauricio Kagel

2013 gets off to a smashing start with Alexandre Tharaud’s wild new recording of the works of postmodernist composer Mauricio Kagel. Norman Lebrecht reviews.

CD of the Week – Voyages-Reisen

December 5th, 2012
CD of the Week – Voyages-Reisen

A compelling new recording of compositions for the viola da gamba, an ancestor of the cello, is just the antidote to predictable radio classical fare

Entitled to Extravagance: Some Historical Fictions of Anthony Burgess

December 1st, 2012
Entitled to Extravagance: Some Historical Fictions of Anthony Burgess

Some of Anthony Burgess’ most accomplished inventions roam into the past, to Shakespeare and Marlowe’s England and Jesus’ Judea. How well has his historical fiction stood up across the years?

The Evolutionary: Barack Obama’s First Term in the White House

November 1st, 2012
The Evolutionary: Barack Obama’s First Term in the White House

Four years ago, Barack Obama won the U.S. presidency on a platform of hope and change. This month, as he fights for re-election, Greg Waldmann takes a detailed look at the incumbent’s first term.

CD of the Week – Carl Nielsen

October 24th, 2012
CD of the Week – Carl Nielsen

New for classical music lovers is an invigorating recording of the symphonies of Danish composer Carl Nielsen, as well as a trio of dazzling piano recitals. As always, Norman Lebrecht reviews.

CD of the Week – Anu Komsi

October 17th, 2012
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Norman Lebrecht reviews a five-star recording from the extraordinary Finnish soprano Anu Komsi

CD of the Week – Miklós Rózsa

October 10th, 2012
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Hungarian Miklós Rózsa was one of the century’s greatest composers for film, but he also wrote the fine concertos given new life on this recording

CD of the Week – Glenn Gould: The Schwarzkopf Tapes

October 3rd, 2012
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The deeply unlikely pairing of pianist Glenn Gould and soprano Elisabeth Schwarzkopf was deemed a flop when it took place in 1966–now some of the never-before-published recordings have come out, and they’re well worth the wait.

CD of the Week – Jon Lord

September 18th, 2012
concerto-2012

Jon Lord, the founder of Deep Purple, brings out a concerto that fuses elements of classical music, rock, and ballad singing. Norman Lebrecht reviews the results.

Other Than Faith

September 1st, 2012
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What does the soul-searching writer do when the concept of the soul–to say nothing of God–has lost its currency? Two new confessional novels try to navigate that uncharted territory.

Gordon’s Alive!

September 1st, 2012
flash holds firm

He started an artist on the path to glory, sold a million toys, and inspired a cult classic movie: He’s Flash Gordon, and his earliest Sunday adventures are getting a deluxe reprint series.

The Adam of Your Labors

August 1st, 2012
the-dark-knight-rises

Expensive new Batman movies have become a Hollywood ritual, but the character has been thrilling readers – and reflecting a constantly-shifting culture – for seventy years

CD of the Week – Beethoven’s Viola

July 24th, 2012
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Violas are the most overlooked of instruments, but not by Beethoven–an intriguing new release brings together his music for the violin’s deeper-voiced sibling

CD of the Week – Arias for Guadagni

June 20th, 2012
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In his CD of the Week recommendation, Norman Lebrecht discovers the brilliant exception to a rule, an aria recital disc worth buying

CD of the Week – A Rush of Mieczyslaw Weinbergs

May 16th, 2012
Weinberg_sy3_chsa5089

Four new recordings celebrate the oft-forgotten Russian composer Mieczylaw Weinberg. Norman Lebrecht reviews.

The Baffler Returns

April 2nd, 2012
baffler 19 cover

The Baffler, an unapologetically radical journal that always punched above its weight, has had a troubled history. But a long-term publishing contract has rejuvenated it, and shown that an old formula is as relevant as ever.

Dystopia Now

April 1st, 2012
syndicate

A simpler, sleeker update of the dystopian 90’s classic Syndicate raises some uncomfortable questions about the here and now.

The Apparatchik

February 1st, 2012
condoleezza-rice

For two terms, first as National Security Advisor and then as Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice was the most – often the only – likeable face of the George W. Bush administration. But does this quintessential team player break ranks in her new memoir?

Sentimental Education

January 1st, 2012
Sentimental Education

Though most people don’t understand musical notation or the theory underlying it, nearly all classical music writing relies on it. Today, the initiate has a better option: YouTube.

A Heartbeat Away

November 1st, 2011
Dick Cheney

John Nance Garner famously referred to the vice presidency as being not worth a bucket of warm, er, spit – and yet, during the two terms of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney used that office to wield unprecedented power. The former vice president writes an unapologetic memoir.

Pros Take On the Cons

May 1st, 2011
the-book-of-mormon-musical-flyer

A con man, an ambitious office boy, and two Mormons–it sounds like the set-up to a punch line. But is the joke on Broadway? Our theater critic examines the “why” of musicals, the limits of Harry Potter, and the perfidy of Canada.

Invisible Man

May 1st, 2011
bad nature

The omissions in Javier Marías’s beguiling, enigmatic novels are just as important as what appear on the page, and two newly translated books are marked by this juggling of the known and the unknown.

It’s a Mystery: “No person is without a shadow”

May 1st, 2011
mankell

Kurt Wallander’s touching swan song shows why his creator Henning Mankell is an acknowledged master of the police procedural.

The Tudor Secret, by C.W. Gortner

April 5th, 2011
the tudor secret

C.W. Gortner kicks off his potboiling Tudor chronicles with a fast-paced novel of conspiracy (and, of course, shrouded paternity) in the court of Edward VI

See Hear!: Erroll Garner and Bill Evans – Two Views of a Trio

December 1st, 2010
Bill Evans Live

Once they had established a repertoire and following, jazz pianists could tour as single artists, adding bassists and drummers from venue to venue. Brad Jones explores the styles of two of the greatest.

Simple Man

December 1st, 2010
Simple Man

No American president in a generation has so polarized the country as George W. Bush, and his new book will almost certainly polarize its readers. Is it defiant agitprop or heartfelt memoir?

Temporarily Miracle-Sodden

December 1st, 2010
bellow

The most Bellovian figure of all may have been the man who lent us the term. A new collection of Saul Bellow’s letters present the man in all his exuberant passion and thorny short-temper.

Rhyme and Rylance

November 1st, 2010
labetecast

David Hirson’s ‘La Bête’ is a sophisticated comedy set in 17th century France and composed entirely of rhyming couplets – not exactly standard Broadway stuff when it premiered twenty years ago. Does the new Matthew Warchus/Mark Rylance revival fare any better today?

Sounds Simple, Nearly Impossible

August 1st, 2010
antietam2

The documentary Restrepo, set in the deepest and most violent American outpost in Afganastan, ushers us “through a door most Americans don’t know about and don’t want to know about”

City of Sorrow

August 1st, 2010
Ciudad.Juarez

In 2009, Ciudad Juarez reported 2,700 homicides. As Charles Bowden’s new book Murder City shows, the bloody drug-war just south of the border shows no signs of abating

Keeping Up With The Tudors: Bernard’s Theorem

July 1st, 2010
jane-seymour

At her trial, Anne Boleyn was accused of adultery, witchcraft, and incest – charges long mocked by historians. But a new book asks: is it possible Anne was actually guilty?

It’s A Mystery: “His job was to save her life”

July 1st, 2010
Noomi_Rapace_05

The final book in Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, leaves no doubt that Lisbeth Salander, his punk hacker protagonist, has no equal in the annals of crime fiction

The Summer’s Rage of Fire

June 1st, 2010
marne,1914

World War I is known for its inching attrition, but both sides tried their hand at massive, all-or-nothing ‘pushes’ – including two of the worst, the Marne and the Somme.

On the Bunny Slopes of Helicon

June 1st, 2010
atph

Steven Moore’s big new book seeks to give an ‘alternative history’ to that most familiar of literary forms, the novel. But at what point does history become wishful thinking?

“For a Long Time I Hated God…”

June 1st, 2010
junger

Famed reporter Sebastian Junger spent months embedded with frontline troops in Afghanistan’s most forbidding region and tells the stories of the men who fight there.

The Idea of Her

June 1st, 2010
rainingmen

Her stature has only grown over time, dominating bookstores, television, movie theaters, and now the Internet. She’s Jane Austen, the world’s least likely pop star.

Write, Repeat Redux

June 1st, 2010
h f a

In his new memoir, Christopher Hitchens regales his readers with one good story after another. But as John Rodwan shows, we’ve heard most of them before – lots of times.

General Winter Had Help

June 1st, 2010
tsaralexander

We often let Napoleon’s failure to conquer Russia obscure the fact that Napoleon was then conquered by Russia. A new book restores the balance of power.

I Talk & Laugh & Listen

June 1st, 2010
King_George_VI_and_Queen_Elizabeth

A minor daughter of Scottish nobility was raised to the royalty of England at the turn of the 20th century and lived until she was 102. Her official biography chronicles an age.

Raggedy-Ass Marines

June 1st, 2010
uss-hornet-01

The Pacific Theater WWII battle against Japan – it will forever be ‘the other war’ – here takes center stage as the boredom and carnage are seen by five individual soldiers.

Year with Short Novels: The Rooms of the Past

June 1st, 2010
So-Long-See-You-Tomorrow

Ingrid Norton’s Year with Short Novels continues in this installment about William Maxwell’s problematically nostalgic novella So Long, See You Tomorrow

Foxhole Allies

June 1st, 2010
emma goldman

The Anarchist movement in America was the first to embrace some form of gay rights, but it was more a marriage of convenience than love at first sight.

The Trickster of Hyacinth Grove

June 1st, 2010
Coyotes

America’s ever-expanding suburbs have brought us right to the doorstep of the wild – and brought the wild to our doorstep – redefining both worlds in the process.

A Year with Short Novels: Awash with Conrad

May 1st, 2010
heartofdarkness

It was only a matter of time before our Year with Short Novels got around to the most famous one of them all and traveled deep into The Heart of Darkness.

Smiling, and Back to Work

May 1st, 2010
joseph_schumpeter

In 2007-2008, the world’s financial markets experienced ample “creative destruction.” Now in paperback is this rich (no pun intended) life of the man who coined the term.

The Nautilus

May 1st, 2010
south side of st marks from the loggia of the ducal palace, john ruskin, 1850

When John Ruskin, the foremost architectural critic of the Victorian era, discovered Venice, he fell in love. An elaborate new work paints the picture in great detail.

The Mines of Mania

May 1st, 2010
DwarfFortressImagePoster

Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, it’s off to game we go as Phillip Lobo delves into the subterranean pleasures of Dwarfortress

Ragged Ishmael

May 1st, 2010
growingupunderground

“Mad Bomber” Sam Melville protested the Vietnam War by blowing up buildings, and he died unrepentant in the Attica riots – but what, if anything, was his legacy?

Zen and the Art of Skull-Impaling

May 1st, 2010
zombie-combat

Even in these fractious times, we can all agree that zombies are bad, and that killing zombies is good. But how exactly do you do it? A new book hones your technique.

Onward, Muriel, Onward!

May 1st, 2010
muriel spark

Perceptive, cosmopolitan British novelist Muriel Spark has at last received an enormous and long-promised biography. Is justice done – or perhaps overdone?

Carson McCullers and Her Crowd

April 1st, 2010
thialh

She’s been praised by Oprah and cut by Joyce Carol Oates; the nature of Carson McCullers’ prose has always confounded some readers and pleased others. We read her again.

Pay Attention, Cynewulf

April 1st, 2010
barbarian_inv.

The warrior tribes who chipped away at Rome’s Western empire were pretty rough on each other, too. A new book examines the fight for fledgling Europe.

She Paints for Them

April 1st, 2010
Isabel_de_Valois2.

Sofonisba Anguissola was the best-known female painter of the Renaissance, but before that, she was art instructor to a willful young queen. A new novel revives those sad, glorious days.

A Year with Short Novels: “There is a bridge….”

March 1st, 2010
bridge3

The jewel-like perfection of Thornton Wilder’s “The Bridge of San Luis Rey” is the subject of Ingrid Norton’s scrutiny in this latest installment of “The Year of Short Novels”

Like Dust, and Memories

March 1st, 2010
the rape of persephone by ‘steele savage’

In mythology, Alcestis is the model wife, willing to give up her own life for her husband’s. In Katharine Beutner’s lyrical retelling, the truth is more complex.

His Homelands

March 1st, 2010
Ugo_Foscolo

He was a soldier, a lover, an exile, and a wanderer – he was Ugo Foscolo,and thanks to a new translation, readers will learn he was one thing more: a powerful poet.

Twilight of the Giants

March 1st, 2010
Southern Right Whale

The elephants of South Africa and the right whales of the North Atlantic are enormous, complex – and confronted with a growing human population. Two books estimate their chances.

It’s Not All Gossip and Fangs

March 1st, 2010
Last Night

The latest novels by Francisco X. Stork and Benjamin Alire Saenz remind us that there’s much, much more to teen fiction than vampire fads.

Sunday in the Park with Dramaturgical Heueristics

March 1st, 2010
the_banquet_of_cleopatra

Giambattista Tiepolo spent a lifetime fulfilling contracts and covering walls with glowing celebrations of light and life. In Tiepolo Pink, Roberto Calasso delves into those bright works.

The Man and the Monument

February 1st, 2010
revolution

The Glorious Revolution of 1688 was peaceful, orderly, and above all sensible, or so says towering Victorian historian Thomas Babington Macaulay. Two new books look at the man and the Revolution he so indelibly described.

Playing the Shadow Game

February 1st, 2010
first_intifada

Since the days of T.E. Lawrence, reporters have been providing the West with carefully-wrought (or overwrought) tales of the Middle East. A new book comments on the excesses–and maybe commits a few too.

Dysentery and Other Childhood Memories

February 1st, 2010
where-in-the-world-is-carmen-sandiego

If names like “Number Muncher,” “The Oregon Trail,” and of course “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?” prompt nostalgic smiles for you, you’ll love this affectionate look at educational video games

Laughin’ Louis

February 1st, 2010
SweetThunder

In the first half of the 20th century, Louis Armstrong and Sugar Ray Robinson both rose to greatness that reached across racial divides. Two new books look at the prices they had to pay.

Book Review: A Case of Exploding Mangoes

June 14th, 2008
casemangoes

Mohammed Hanif’s debut raises the specter of Joseph Heller. Steve Donoghue reviews A Case of Exploding Mangoes

Book Review: Surprised by Hope

April 29th, 2008
SurprisedHope

N.T. Wright’s book of theology earns its allusion to C.S. Lewis’ Surprised by Joy. Steve Donoghue reviews.

Book Review: God’s Middle Finger

April 5th, 2008
Godsmiddle

Richard Grant take a trip to the hellhole of the Sierra Madre a (barely) lives to tell about it

Book Review: The Blue Star

March 13th, 2008
Bluestar

Tony Earley’s sequel to Jim the Boy is as rich and powerful as its predecessor. Sam Sacks reviews The Blue Star.

Book Review: The Reserve

February 27th, 2008
reserve

Russell Banks pens a Lost Generation fairy tale. Sam Sacks reviews The Reserve