Fiction Reviews Archive

What Ails the Curmudgeonly Professor?: A Review of Dear Committee Members

"Dear Committee Members" is an epistolary novel which tells a story that’s only possible because of the painful reality of academic life.

Gender and Power in New Guinea: A Review of Euphoria

"Euphoria" is a story about seizing life and a reminder of the potentially high cost of power and the lasting effects of our choices.

Shakespeare Turns 450: Read His Adaptation of Star Wars

Though he never looks a day over 250, Shakespeare turned 450 today. No one really knows his birthday...

The Stranger in the House: A Review of Ten White Geese

In Gerbrand Bakker’s novel Ten White Geese (published in the UK as The Detour), a Dutch woman takes a short-term lease on an old cottage in rural Wales. Avoiding contact with the handful of locals, she does little but sleep, drink wine, smoke, and wander around the property.

“Remember the Thalamus!” A Review of Andrew’s Brain

The narrator of E. L. Doctorow’s new novel is Andrew. Or, more accurately, Andrew’s brain. Or, perhaps most accurately, some consciousness that refers to itself as Andrew. It’s hard to get your bearings in this novel of neuroscience, because Andrew is the ultimate unreliable narrator: he knows that “there is nothing you can think

Micro-Review: The Good Lord Bird

“I was born a colored man and don’t you forget it. But I lived as a colored woman for seventeen years.” Thus begins the oral history of Henry Shackleford, aka “the Onion,” who was mistaken for a girl when he was kidnapped by white abolitionist John Brown in the wake of Brown accidentally causing

Micro-Review: The Lowland

Lahiri’s latest novel explores the limits of familial love and obligation. Brothers Subhash and Udayan are inseparable growing up in Calcutta in the 1960s; sneaking into the golf club, building a radio, and studying, always together. But as they enter separate colleges and political unrest flares in the countryside, the boys begin to drift

Micro-Review: Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish

If first novels carry the promise of characters and themes to come, last novels have a maturity of spirit and talent. David Rakoff’s final novel, completed just before his death in 2012, spans a century on the American continent, from the Chicago stockyards to sunny California to midtown Manhattan.
In search of belief changing ideas