J.G. Ballard’s The Kindness Of Women

Seven years after J.G. Ballard published his semi-autobiographical World War II novel Empire Of The Sun, about his experiences as a young boy in Japanese-occupied Shanghai, he delivered a sequel that seemed to upend so much of what made the original […]

Joyce Carol Oates’ Soul At The White Heat

The title of Joyce Carol Oates’ latest collection of essays, Soul At The White Heat, comes from an Emily Dickinson poem beginning, “Dare you see a soul at the white heat?” It is a poem about the nature of creativity – […]

Iris Chang’s The Rape Of Nanking

It is a testament to the horror of the 20th century that one of its worst episodes – the capture and occupation of the Chinese city of Nanjing by the Imperial Japanese Army – did not receive due attention until […]

Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle (Book Four)

In a public conversation between Zadie Smith and Karl Ove Knausgaard, part of the Lannan Literary Series, Knausgaard relates how his editor’s description of his first novel as a “monument to male shame” took him utterly by surprise. “I wasn’t aware that […]

Christopher Hitchens’ And Yet…

The year is coming to a close, and it has proven to be an eventful one for global politics. Britain stunned the world – and many of its citizens – by voting to leave the European Union and end 40 years […]

Elmore Leonard’s Maximum Bob

My introduction to Elmore Leonard came through television: FX’s Justified was based on an Elmore Leonard short story and character, and Leonard played a key role in the show’s development, for which he won a Peabody Award. Sadly, three years after […]

Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter Of Maladies

I found Jhumpa Lahiri’s debut collection of short stories, Interpreter Of Maladies, tucked between young adult books at a local used book sale. I did not know it had won the Pulitzer Prize until I saw the badging on the front […]

W.B. Yeats’ Collected Poems

Few 20th century writers are as secure in their stature as William Butler Yeats, but his reputation has tended to rest on the sum total of his work; unlike Joyce or Eliot or Proust, Yeats has no single work to serve as his […]

Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast

Paris is, by popular consensus, the world’s most romantic city. And though it already held that title when Ernest Hemingway arrived there in 1921, in his early 20s, it had never before attracted so many talented foreign writers. The short list includes […]

Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle (Book Three)

In Kafka’s famous letter to his father, published after Kafka’s death and against his wishes, one line in particular perfectly encapsulates the essential qualities of an abusive father-son relationship: “For me you took on the enigmatic quality that all tyrants […]