Author Archives: Jenny

The Home-Maker

In The Home-Maker, Dorothy Canfield Fisher presents the story of a family in which traditionally assigned roles are causing everyday suffering. Eva, the mother, feels suffocated: the circumscribed role of homemaker isn’t enough for her passionate spirit, invention, energy, and … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction | 10 Comments

Telegraph Avenue

Michael Chabon’s Telegraph Avenue is about a lot of things. It’s about a particular neighborhood — Brokeland, right on the line between Berkeley and Oakland, with all its ethnic and religious and economic and sexual and historical diversity, and everything … Continue reading

Posted in Contemporary, Fiction | 8 Comments

Tooth and Claw

Teresa asked me to read Jo Walton’s Tooth and Claw — essentially a Victorian novel in which all the characters are dragons — in this year’s book swap, after she read it herself in 2013. Her review of it sums it … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Speculative Fiction | 10 Comments

Texts From Jane Eyre

oh my god         what this guy this publisher guy is asking me about my favorite canto in Childe Harold that’s like asking someone to pick who’s hotter his half-sister or his cousins it’s literally impossible Mallory … Continue reading

Posted in Contemporary, Fiction | Tagged | 14 Comments

How To Breathe Underwater

This collection of stories by Julie Orringer sounds as if it’s going to be miserable. Here we have girls — mostly teenage girls, some younger — going through a familiar collection of life’s cruelties, fears, and humiliations: displacement, addiction, illness, … Continue reading

Posted in Contemporary, Fiction, Short Stories/Essays | 1 Comment

Plausible Prejudices

Joseph Epstein is an essayist, short story writer, and editor who worked for years at The American Scholar and is a long-time contributor to The New Criterion, Hudson Review, and Commentary. He’s written biographies, as well as books on gossip, … Continue reading

Posted in Nonfiction, Short Stories/Essays | 23 Comments

Lament for a Maker

I’ve been reading Michael Innes’s mysteries in order, and this is his third. The others have been enjoyable, if somewhat academic detective stories, starring a young John Appleby, and I was looking forward to this one. Nothing, however, could have prepared … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction, Mysteries | 6 Comments

A City of Bells

Jocelyn Irvin has just come out of the Boer War with “an incurably lamed leg and a future that consisted of nothing but an immense question mark.” Restless and ill-tempered, he goes to the one place he believes he can … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction | 12 Comments

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

Clay Jannon has lost his job in the Great Recession, and he really needs to keep a roof over his head. (Not just any roof, either: he lives in San Francisco.) So when he sees a Help Wanted sign in … Continue reading

Posted in Contemporary, Fiction | 12 Comments

A Stranger in Olondria

Jevick is from Tyom, a small village in the Tea Islands. He has lived here all his childhood, learning the delicate art of pepper-growing from his father, hardly understanding his own isolation, until one day his father brings back something … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Speculative Fiction | 6 Comments