Tag Archives: American literature

My Name Is Lucy Barton: In which I retract my claim about writers in New York.

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I deserved this book. After all my whinging about how all books set in New York about writers were/are terrible, I read Elizabeth Strout’s My Name is Lucy Barton and find myself retracting that outrageous and essentializing claim. Instead let’s agree that almost all books set in New York about writers are terrible – one exception is this one. Which is terrific. Really. Continue reading

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Filed under American literature, Fiction

The Nix: This 600 page novel is 400 pages too long.

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A lot of people liked Nathan Hill’s The Nix. And there are a lot of reasons to like it. There are moments of laugh out loud humour; the writing is sharp and immersive; the range of fully realized characters is impressive; it has something to say about American political activism, partisan politics and the role of an impartial judiciary (*cough* nothing relevant about those themes).  Some of the scenes of academic life (and the corollary days spent absorbed by video games) resonated pitch-perfect. Continue reading

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Filed under American literature, Book I'll Forget I Read, Fiction, Funny, New York Times Notable

Behold the Dreamers: We need fiction today. (and every day)

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You’ll enjoy Behold the Dreamers. Except for the references to the coming Obama presidency and how it has the potential to turn around Wall Street and rekindle the American dream. That part you’ll find a painful reminder of where we are in the American political-civic moment. But if you can put aside your current historic moment (ha) and slip into the novel’s time period – just before, during and after the financial collapse of 2008 – you’ll find yourself in a fully realized, fully human exploration of income inequality, privilege, race and nationality in America. And occasionally laughing about it. Continue reading

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Filed under American literature, Fiction, Funny, New York Times Notable

Three Junes: How to start your new year of reading right.

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Almost in time for Christmas I finished Julia Glass’s Three Junes, the last of the Christmas gift books from 2016. Why did I wait?! (Okay, it wasn’t on purpose. I kept the stack of Christmas books by my bed and picked one up everytime I had a lull between book club books, or top recommended, or stumbled-upon-it-and-couldn’t-resist). Anyway. Glad I finally read it. Glad for the gift (thanks, mum) and glad to be able to share it with you.

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Filed under American literature, Bestseller, Fiction, National Book Award, Prize Winner