Vladimir Nabokov’s Pnin

While searching for a publisher brave enough to put out Lolita, and laboring under the burden of financial necessity, Vladimir Nabokov published Pnin in installments in The New Yorker, and it has lived in the shadows ever since. It is, admittedly, a much less ambitious […]

Alexander Pope’s Selected Poems

In a letter to a friend, Alexander Pope wrote, “My life in thought and imagination is as much superior to my life in action and reality as the best soul can be to the vilest body.” The metaphor is general […]

Richard Ellmann’s James Joyce

I first picked up James Joyce’s Ulysses when I was seventeen years old. I had read a New York Times article that divided the world into two camps, serious readers and non-serious readers, with membership into the former category granted only upon successful completion […]

Ian Kershaw’s Hitler: Profiles In Power

Glance, for a moment, at the face adorning the cover of Ian Kershaw’s Hitler: Profiles In Power. You’d be hard-pressed not to concede that this is the face of an evil man, a man without conscience or moral scruples, just the […]

Robert Hayden’s Collected Poems

Robert Hayden was born Asa Bundy Sheffey, but when his parents felt ill prepared for the responsibilities of raising a child, he was taken in by a neighboring family, the Haydens. His foster parents made an earnest attempt at raising […]

Jennifer Egan’s A Visit From The Goon Squad

I’m a little late to Egan’s party but, considering she only received notoriety with the publication of A Visit From The Goon Squad in 2010, when she was already in her late forties, perhaps so is she. However, given its status atop […]

Alice Munro’s Open Secrets

Canada’s international literary reputation rests on precious few writers: Margaret Atwood, Robertson Davies, Mordecai Richler, Michael Ondaatje, Yann Martel and Alice Munro make up the small handful whose reach extends beyond our borders. How fortunate for us, then, that this […]

F. A. Hayek’s The Road To Serfdom

The 21st century began poorly for those who care about liberty. The September 11th attacks ushered in an era of paranoia and fear marked by warrantless wiretapping, indefinite detention and a state of near-permanent war. Worse still, cynical opportunists in […]

C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity

On November 22nd, 1963, John F. Kennedy was assassinated. On that same day, Alduos Huxley and C.S. Lewis breathed their last as well, but the media storm created by a presidential assassination all but obscured the deaths of these great […]

Zadie Smith’s NW

Zadie Smith’s latest novel NW, named for the postal code of the northwest London neighborhood in which it is set, follows the lives of four children of the fictional Garvey project buildings: Leah Hanwell, Felix Cooper, Keisha (renamed Natalie) Blake and […]