Author Archives: Jenny


Robert Macfarlane is one of my very favorite nature writers. He writes in a wonderful, engaging combination of personal essay, cultural history, and nature writing. Whether it’s about our weird relationships with peaks and summits, or the old paths and … Continue reading

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We Others

Steven Millhauser has been working for a long time in the strange, the disturbing, and the fantastic. I’ve read several books of his short stories and novellas, my favorite of which is The King in the Tree, with its wonderful … Continue reading

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The Fifth Season

Almost exactly two years ago, I finished N.K. Jemisin’s Inheritance trilogy, which is all about gods and race and class and religion. Her plotting is Byzantine, but her characterization is terrific, and I heard nothing but praise for her Broken … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Speculative Fiction | 3 Comments

Nothing That Meets the Eye

I read Patricia Highsmith’s Ripley novels (there are five of them, starting with The Talented Mr. Ripley, and they go by the collective name of the Ripliad) years and years ago, before I started this blog. Ever since, I’ve wanted … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Mysteries/Crime, Short Stories/Essays | 10 Comments


This is the third book of George Saunders’s short stories I’ve read, and the fourth of his books I’ve read overall, and to be honest I think he might be one of my top five favorite authors. I don’t tend … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Short Stories/Essays, Speculative Fiction | 8 Comments

The Outsider

Does anyone remember that in 2002, Stephen King announced his retirement? Let’s just pause to think about that for a second. Even if you assume that From a Buick 8 and the Dark Tower books were already in the pipeline … Continue reading

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Thus Bad Begins

I was at the library a couple of weeks ago and ran across this book — and a few others — by Javier Marías. “Spain’s premier novelist,” it said, and I discovered that he’s written about seventeen novels, only one … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction | 8 Comments

Version Control

This is a book of science fiction unlike pretty much any other I’ve read. The science fiction piece revolves around a causality violation device (it’s not a time machine!) and about the consequences of using it or not using it, … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Speculative Fiction | 7 Comments

Death in Ecstasy

This is the fourth of Ngaio Marsh’s detective novels starring DI Roderick Alleyn, the smooth, nobly-born, well-educated man who actually works for the police force rather than being a private detective who generously contributes his services. I have to say … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Mysteries/Crime | 1 Comment

Signs of Life

Ten years ago, in her twenties, Rachel was in a long-term relationship: “no ruptures, no wrinkles, we were happy.” Then she had an affair with a man at work, someone rougher and more dangerous than her boyfriend Johnny, and it … Continue reading

Posted in Contemporary, Fiction | 4 Comments