Yukio Mishima’s Life For Sale

Motivated, no doubt, by Mishima’s rapidly ascending reputation in the West, publishers in Britain and the United States have finally translated his 1968 novel Life For Sale, bringing it to English-speaking audiences for the first time. It is just the […]

William Giraldi’s Hold The Dark

William Giraldi’s debut novel, Busy Monsters, was one of the first books I reviewed on this blog, more than seven years ago now. It was a bold and inventive comedy, emblematic of the mind behind it, and I doubt I […]

Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises

It was Gertrude Stein who coined the famous phrase “lost generation” to describe the unlucky men and women who came of age during the cataclysm of the First World War, but it was Hemingway who made it famous, using it […]

Peter Moskos’ Cop In The Hood

HBO’s police procedural drama The Wire made the Baltimore drug trade – and the incredible crime and violence it creates – familiar to American television watchers, but in roughly the same time period that the show was taking place, a young […]

Derek Raymond’s How The Dead Live

Derek Raymond’s Factory series has the grim allure of a corpse. No matter how many times I turn the final page of one of these books, eager to escape the blight and despair of England’s criminal underworld in the 1980s, […]

Edmund Wilson’s The Triple Thinkers

Edmund Wilson has fallen into relative obscurity at the moment, but for much of the 20th century he was America’s preeminent literary critic – and that at a time when literary criticism still had some purchase on the cultural mainstream. […]

Joseph Frank’s Dostoevsky: The Miraculous Years, 1865-1871

With this fourth book in Joseph Frank’s five-volume biography of Dostoevsky, we approach the apex of Dostoevsky’s career as a writer, for in the five-year period between 1865 and 1871, he will write three masterpieces in rapid succession: Crime and […]

William Julius Wilson’s When Work Disappears

William Julius Wilson is a professor of sociology at Harvard University (formerly of the University of Chicago), a one-time President of the American Sociological Association, the author of a number of hugely influential books on race and urban poverty, and […]

Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime And Punishment

I see by the inscription inside my copy that it has been nearly ten years to the month since my last reading of Crime And Punishment. I perfectly remember where I was when I first sat down to read it, […]

John Williams’ Augustus

Fittingly, I finish my reading of the novels of John Williams with his last published novel, written some 22 years before his death. Augustus was the sole of his four published works to receive real acclaim, winning the 1973 National […]

Glenn Loury’s The Anatomy of Racial Inequality

Glenn Loury is a professor of economics at Brown University and the host of The Glenn Show, a podcast sponsored by the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, where I first discovered him some years ago. I have been […]

Peter Hitchens’ The Abolition Of Britain

Speaking as a self-described Anglophile, one of the saddest images produced in recent months was of the statue of Winston Churchill in London’s Parliament Square encased in a massive box, designed to protect it from the inevitable vandalism and abuse […]

Thomas Lynch’s The Undertaking

Poet and undertaker – you could hardly imagine two more unlikely or unusual occupations. And yet, the more you think on it, the deeper the connections between them appear to be: both jobs are concerned with sanctifying and memorializing, building imaginary […]

Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility

I have read no Jane Austen since high school, when no doubt a boyish prejudice prevented me from fully appreciating or understanding what I was reading, but I return to her now with – one hopes –greater maturity and appreciation. […]

William Giraldi’s American Audacity

Given that I am reviewing a collection of essays entitled American Audacity, let me begin by being audacious: there are perhaps two or three English-language critics alive today who are the equal of William Giraldi – in judgment, depth of […]