Category Archives: Fiction

The North Water

Finally! Finally! A book on this year’s Booker longlist that I’m excited about. I liked Work Like Any Other just fine, but none of the others I’ve read did much for me. I’m hoping this is a turnaround point. I have a weakness … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Historical Fiction | 4 Comments

The Pursuit of Alice Thrift

This is the story of an unbalanced romance. It is the story of a fudge salesman (and maybe a con man — we’re not sure) doggedly pursuing a surgeon, for no reason she (or we, at first) can see. When … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction | 9 Comments

The Home and the World

This 1916 novel, originally written in Bengali by Rabindranath Tagore, is a terrific example of what happens when individual lives and the life of a nation meet. Sometimes books like this can be lumpen allegories, where the author keeps hitting … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction | 5 Comments

The Sellout

Satire is hard. It’s hard to write and hard to read. And I’ll admit straight off that I’m not good at reading it. If the point of the jokes are too obvious, I get annoyed. If it’s too subtle, I miss it. … Continue reading

Posted in Contemporary, Fiction | 15 Comments

The Brutal Telling

This is the fifth in Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache series of crime novels, most of which take place in the small, secluded Quebecois village of Three Pines. I read the fourth novel, A Rule Against Murder, just a few months … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Mysteries | 4 Comments

How to be both

This lovely, dual-narrative novel by Ali Smith twines around itself like a double helix (and, in case you didn’t notice it, part of the novel takes place in Cambridge, England, where “DNA history had been made.”) In the first part … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction | 9 Comments


I first attempted to read this novel by Ottessa Moshfegh several months ago and gave up in boredom after about 60 pages. I had been led to expect a thriller, something in the vein of Patricia Highsmith or Ruth Rendell. … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction | 16 Comments


Set in an alternate version of the 1960s, this novel by David Means follows a trio of Vietnam veterans who’ve undergone a procedure called enfolding that eliminates their memories of past trauma. It’s not a fool-proof procedure, however. Drugs, a cold bath, … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Speculative Fiction | 14 Comments

Lord Jim

It’s been quite some time since I’ve read anything by Joseph Conrad. Years ago — just after college — I read Heart of Darkness and The Secret Agent, both of which I liked very much both for their gripping plot … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction | 9 Comments


Okay, so: it’s been a hard, sad summer for me in a number of respects, and so I decided to read Greensleeves, by Eloise Jarvis McGraw, on the long-ago recommendation (2008, when I had just begun to blog!) of Other Jenny. … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction | 12 Comments