Archive - Book Reviews

2007

November 11, 2007
In the Jewish tradition, language is holy. More precisely, one language is holy-Hebrew. Hebrew letters were created by God, the story goes, and are deeply powerful. They can summon new life if arranged in the right order; and once deconstructed, can offer clues to the meaning of the Torah. Even their shapes are suffused with significance.
December 12, 2007
In the first few panels of DMZ: On the Ground, the first collection of Vertigo's ongoing comic book, graffiti states that "Every day is 9/11." However, even if 9/11 has a symbolic significance f
December 12, 2007
Milkweed, May 2007    308 pages, $22.00
December 12, 2007
At times brilliant, at times tactical and plain, Shari Goldhagen's Family and Other Accidents has moments of wisdom, wistfulness and elegia
December 12, 2007
185 pages, $22.00 
December 12, 2007
Robert Westfield's debut, Suspension, has a plot, but you don't need to pay attention to it to enjoy the novel; the bulk of its pages pay loving homage to New York City.
December 12, 2007
Drawn & Quarterly, November 2006 112 pages, $15.96
December 12, 2007
Mykel Board's Even A Daughter Is Better Than Nothing lacks the type of overt soul-searching and self-discovery that one might expect
December 12, 2007
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, January 23, 2007  272 pages, $25.00
December 12, 2007
384 pages, $26.00
December 12, 2007
Hard Case Crime, May 2007  202 pages, $6.99
December 12, 2007
New Directions, November 2006  288 pages, $45.00
December 12, 2007
Harcourt, January 2007  336 pages, $25.00
December 12, 2007
Soft Skull Press, June 2007  192 pages, $16.00
December 12, 2007
One of the great challenges in writing fiction about illness is keeping the story about people when the reality of medical constraints threatens to dominate. While readers want their authors to get the details of a disease right, the works that resonate are the ones where character trumps biology.
December 12, 2007
New Press, April 2007   240 pages, $22.95
December 12, 2007
Harper Perennial, September 2006336 pages, $13.99
December 12, 2007
MacAdam Cage, October 2006  300 pages, $16.50
December 12, 2007
New Directions, September 2007 | 96 pages, $11.95
December 12, 2007
University of Iowa Press, March 2007 184 pages, $22.50
December 12, 2007
228 pages, $16.00
December 12, 2007
Five dead girls, a missing pilot, CIA cover-ups, a runaway, and a mysterious unidentified serial killer.
December 12, 2007
University of Iowa Press, October 2006   176 pages, $15.95
December 12, 2007
Grove Press, September 2006  448 pages, $15.00
December 12, 2007
Scribner, January 2007, 288 pages, $24.00
December 12, 2007
McSweeney's, August 2006  $24.00, 480 pages
December 12, 2007
Imagine wading through a field of wild grass that extends over your head. Your ruined shoes squish through mud; vines grasp your ankles. Wind whispers voices you cannot understand. You came looking for something you deeply desired, but the farther you push into the tangle, the more you realize you only want to find a way out. 
December 12, 2007
In a city where housing projects and luxury day spas coexist, and young hipsters awash in bling rub elbows with old immigrants held together by support hose, Douglas Light conjures up a mixed-bag of characters - sex-addled teens, love-starved focus group leaders, borderline bounty hunters, and socialite squatters - using them as wrecking balls t
December 12, 2007
In The Thin Place, Kathryn Davis creates another world, a semblance similar to the one we inhabit, yet composed of different primordial ether.
December 12, 2007
Scott Snyder's new story collection, Voodoo Heart, is an
December 12, 2007
AR Ammons once said: "I have 4/interests--money, poetry, sex, death." In Lynda Hull's three poetry collections, Ghost Money, Star Ledger, and The Only World, compiled
December 12, 2007
Archipelago Books, April 2007 260 pages, $25.00
December 12, 2007
Algonquin Books, September 2006 144 pages, $14.95
December 12, 2007
Soho Press, October 1, 2006, 304 pages, $23.00
December 12, 2007
The precocious child narrators of St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, Karen Russell's daring debut, face hurdles far greater than puberty.
December 12, 2007
Harcourt, May 2007   240 pages, $23.00
December 12, 2007
256 pages, $26.00"All plots tend to move deathward. This is the nature of plots. Political plots, terrorist plots, narrative plots, plots that are part of children's games. We edge nearer to death every time we plot." - Don DeLillo, White Noise
December 12, 2007
Little, Brown, October 2006, 400 pages, $23.99
December 12, 2007
Soft Skull Press, October 2006, 320 pages, $15.00
December 12, 2007
Harper Perennial, October 2006 352 pages, $13.95
December 12, 2007
Dalkey Archive Press, July 2007  79 pages, $9.50
December 12, 2007
Melville House, May 2007  Eeeee Eee Eeee: 211 pages, $14.95  Bed: 278 pages, $14.95
December 12, 2007
In a pulp exposé occupying a realm somewhere between soap opera and History Channel mini-series, Sara Gruen neatly packages a cavalcade of spectacle-Americana into a commercially viable romance.
December 12, 2007
As sensitive readers we hesitate to admit it, but we are nearly always disappointed when a preposterous premise turns out to be the protagonist's dream, or daydream, or fantasy, or form of insanity. Psychological insights are rarely compensation - not for all the fun we thought we were having.
December 12, 2007
Pantheon, November 2006  272 pages, $23.00
December 12, 2007
Thaddeus Rutkowski's novel Tetched is described by the author as "a novel in fractals." And indeed, it is in the structure where much of its allure lies.
December 12, 2007
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, December 2006  320 pages, $25.00
December 12, 2007
Lara Vapnyar's first novel, Memoirs of a Muse, tells the story of Tanya, a young woman who moves from Moscow to live with her struggling immigrant relatives in 1980's Brighton Beach.
December 12, 2007
Impetus Press, August 2006   $17.95, 353 pages
December 12, 2007
Bill Buford is not afraid to get his feet wet.
December 12, 2007
Cleis Press, October 2006, 144 pages, $13.95
December 12, 2007
Viking Adult, February 2007 336 pages, $24.95There aren't too many towns in America where a fourteen year-old can lose her virginity inside a giant concrete pipe. Still rarer is the municipality where such a pipe doubles as a home. 
December 12, 2007
Hill & Wang, November 2006  112 pages, $15.95
December 12, 2007
Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, December 2006 416 pages, $15.00
December 12, 2007
Harper Collins, January 2007  272 pages, $24.95   
December 12, 2007
Hill and Wang, September 2006   128 pages, $30.00
December 12, 2007
Harper Perennial, October 2006, 304 pages, $13.95
December 12, 2007
Knopf, October 2006  352 pages, $26.95
December 12, 2007
Little, Brown, September 2006, 352 pages, $24.99
December 12, 2007
Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, January 2007  256 pages, $23.00
December 12, 2007
Every few years, death makes a comeback.
December 12, 2007
Coffee House Press, October 2006  218 pages, $14.95 
December 12, 2007
Fugue State Press, January 2006, 336 pages, $16
December 12, 2007
Coffee House Press, September 2006 256 pages, $14.95

2008

June 6, 2008
Fukú is not a spelling-check-be-damned "fuck you," but a curse - a mucho mala dose of rotten ju ju, and the lurking theme of Junot Díaz's scintillating new novel, The Brief and Wondrous Life
June 6, 2008
The Father Shore - Matthew Eck (Milkweed, Oct. 2007, 192 p.)

2009

October 10, 2009
What does it mean when science gives pathological names to traits like, say, extreme introversion and social discomfort? Does it flatten their human meaning or offer a much-need identity and support groups for its sufferers? What about the essentialism of the label, be it stigmatization or pride?
December 12, 2009
For Brain Tesesco, life as an adolescent is — much like his Napoleonic physical stature — nasty, brutish, and short. There is no figure more wretched than a dweebish alpha-male aspirant. An efficacious cad is loathsome in uncomplicated ways, but a failed cad provokes a much murkier emotional response.

2010

March 3, 2010
In A Lesser Day, Andrea Scrima's first novel/memoir, each of its short chapters is urgently scrawled out from a new loft studio in New York or Germany, each of them addressed to a constantly shifting ‘You.' In form, it resembles a collection of private letters; in tone, it reads like a retrospective diary.
April 4, 2010
Zachary Mason's The Lost Books of The Odyssey isn't a novel or a collection of short stories, but exactly what its preface promises: a series of “concise variations on Odysseus's story that omit stock epic formulae in favor of honing a single trope or image down to an extreme of clarity.” This is more exciting than it sounds.
April 4, 2010
For years I've been telling friends, acquaintances, even people at parties I speak to for five minutes, to read Jean-Philippe Toussaint. But I always have difficulty recommending a novel of his to start with.
May 5, 2010
‘In the beginning there was no God. There was no time or space. There was just light and darkness. And it was perfect.'
May 5, 2010
Everything Here Is the Best Thing Ever is a collection of 16 short stories, all of them focused on (and often narrated by) wayward suburban teenagers and twentysomethings.
June 6, 2010
Don't ask me about the three delays of Charlie Smith's new novel, Three Delays. Who or what's delayed, when, why – whether there are any delays at all – I couldn't tell you. This isn't a book that impresses with its structure or clarity, or wants to. The narrator explains: 
July 7, 2010
Whitehorn's Windmill or The Unusual Events Once Upon a Time in the Land of Paudruve”, the reader will first be struck – and perhaps put off – by the simple, informal prose and fairy-tale setting.
July 7, 2010
“The public has lost their courage to believe. They've even given up their ability to think. They can no longer even form their opinions, they absorb their opinions, sitting slack-jawed in front of their televisions.” ~Glenn Beck, p. 42, The Overton Window, apparently written without irony
August 8, 2010
Am I a Redundant Human Being? This question is the title of Austrian writer Mela Hartwig's early 20th-century novel – now out from Dalkey Archive Press in a translation by Kerrie Pierce – and Hartwig gives it to a relentlessly wordy, wildly contradictory, and sadistic narrator to answer.
September 9, 2010
With its light tenor and hard to pin humor, Matthew Sharpe's new novel You Were Wrong is a smartly enjoyable inquiry into the unfortunate situation of Long Island high school math teacher Karl Floor.
September 9, 2010
In The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami, May Kasahara is a teenage girl with an amoral sense of humor. When her neighbor, the protagonist, descends into an abandoned well to contemplate his wife's disappearance, she pulls up the rope ladder that is his only means of escape.
September 9, 2010
If – somehow – a dolphin actually clubbed Elijah Wood death, would I find this funny? I don't think so: it would probably be horrifying, frightening, too strange for me to accept.
October 10, 2010
So I see myself as a sort of subject that I am observing, as someone walking along beside me, and I'm starting to have thoughts about my new companion, such as he is.
October 10, 2010
If you're our age and into fiction you have to act like there's a lot of new stuff out there to know about – secret, underground literary things that are making things new again. There isn't. It's no one's fault.
October 10, 2010
"Pirates are a perfect picture of a person piecemeal, falling apart,” a character pronounces near the end of Terese Svoboda's Pirate Talk or Mermalade. Given the novel that precedes this statement, it's hard to deny its truth.
October 10, 2010
Why would I read a book by a young American writer about what it's like to be an old Hungarian composer? Especially an old Hungarian composer who was at Terezín?
October 10, 2010
The most recent in the outpouring of Roberto Bolaño translations is The Insufferable Gaucho, a collection of short stories and two essays.
November 11, 2010
Despite Lindsay Hunter's decision to name her new book Daddy's, there are more than just fathers stalking, squalling, seducing and suffering in these 210 sordid little pages. That being said, Daddies certainly do make an appearance – in fact the clever, possessive title should give the reader an inkling as to what lies ahead.
November 11, 2010
“Don't you know? It always ends with Jewish heads bleeding."
November 11, 2010
Human beings have two systems for making sense of their universe, two ways of understanding the seemingly unfathomable pain and suffering and sorrow and even beauty of their lives. The first is art, and the second is science.
November 11, 2010
Putting aside its kitsch and recent surge in popularity, the spy genre can be engrossing and worthwhile if it is innovative.
December 12, 2010
If his new short story collection Changing the Subject has an ambitious title, Stephen-Paul Martin gets away with it.
December 12, 2010
Translated from Polish by Bill Johnston, who received a National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellowship in Translation, Stone Upon Stone by Wieslaw Myśliwski is built on big questions about spirituality and relationship to place.

2011

January 1, 2011
It is late at night in a train station in the Uttar Pradesh province in Northern India. Four men of various ages are sharing the waiting room when a young couple walks in, then walks out.
February 2, 2011
The protagonists of Lars Iyer's first novel, Spurious, are two British academics.
February 2, 2011
Barbara Browning's exciting debut novel, The Correspondence Artist, published by Two Dollar Radio, revolves around four love stories, all of which are actually the same love story, but none of which are the real, or true, story.
February 2, 2011
When I see “New and Selected Stories” on the cover of a book, I usually cringe.
March 3, 2011
There exists a brand of individual whose life comes down to a story: men and women whose lives are irrevocably defined by a series of indelible childhood events.
March 3, 2011
Does anyone remember the plots of detective novels? According to legend, not even their authors.
March 3, 2011
It's not uncommon these days to hear a literary critic bemoan the decline of the short story.
March 3, 2011
Haywire is composed of 49 pieces of painful and funny flash fiction narrated by the son of a Polish-American father and a Chinese mother.
March 3, 2011
Noisy selfwilled man. Full of his son. He is right. Something to hand on. If little Rudy had lived. See him grow up. Hear his voice in the house. Walking beside Molly in an Eton suit. My son. Me in his eyes.”-James Joyce, Ulysses
April 4, 2011
Populated by folks scraping by under the poverty line in a rural setting, Alan Heathcock's Volt (Graywolf Press) easily qualifies as country noir, Winter's Bone with fewer meth addicts.
April 4, 2011
The hardboiled mystery is so familiar to readers and film viewers, it's become a platform for almost endless invention. With novels like A Scanner Darkly, Philip K.
April 4, 2011
In the 262 pages of The Coffins of Little Hope (Unbridled Books), Timothy Schaffert packs 61 chapters, 11 “parts,” a kidnapping drama, a bestselling children's fant
May 5, 2011
Justin Cartwright's new novel, Other People's Money (Bloomsbury), is a biting satire of the financial collapse of a bank following the steep economic falls of 2008.
May 5, 2011
Where would personalities who are grandiose, exceptional, and extraordinary even in their awfulness fit in? Richard III wages that he will be evil; the mass murderers of a totalitarian regime, by contrast, take an oath on the common good.
June 6, 2011
A novel of place and character, R.
August 8, 2011
Netsuke (Coffee House Press) opens with a loathsome scene of debauched lust, and from there goes further and further down the rabbit hole into the twisted wonderland of the narrator's mind. But do not turn away from the dark, because what Rikki Ducornet has managed with this little book is quite startling.
August 8, 2011
Rae Bryant's The Indefinite State of Imaginary Morals (Patasola Press) is a book about love and sex, but that description is the only one that will make Morals
September 9, 2011
Salvage the Bones (Bloomsbury) is a slow burn over the eleven days leading up to Hurricane Katrina, following the life of Esch, a pregnant teen in rural Louisiana who is obsessed with the story of Medea and her neighbor, Manny.
September 9, 2011
The mythical town of Stitchings is coming apart at the seams: unfortunate deaths riddle the town, snow never melts, the people are preoccupied with war, and monkeys from a traveling circus have put counterfeit money into circulation, ruining the local economy.
September 9, 2011
‘The meaning of life is purely a Russian fabrication. We fabricated it for the very same reason the Asians fabricated Buddhism: presumably from want of life's basic necessities.'
October 10, 2011
“Why bother?” From the mouth of a stubborn pubescent, this question usually gets a smirk. However, in the case of Mathea Martinsen, the protagonist of Kjersti A.
October 10, 2011
Melville House, 2011
October 10, 2011
Khaled Mattawa, a leading English translator of Arabic poetry, often raises the issue of how a book might travel out of one culture and into another. From thematic incongruities, to language barriers (idioms, tenses, slang), to unshared histories, not all books achieve what they are meant to when they travel.
November 11, 2011
“It's not for everyone,” explains Joe, proprietor of Lightning Rods, Inc., to a bewildered new applicant.
December 12, 2011
You will be reading Dukla (Dalkey Archive Press), Andrzej Stasiuk’s meditation on the titular Polish resort town, and suddenly you will realize you haven’t been reading at all.  You’ve been lost
December 12, 2011
There exists an old adage, or so we're told in Gianni Rodari's Lamberto, Lamberto, Lamberto (Melville House), “that the man whose name is spoken remains alive.” Ruminations on legacy aside—and indeed, with his nimble pace, Rodari largely avoids ruminating, such that a superficial reading of the book could prove as entertaining as one sp

2012

January 1, 2012
Ben Lerner's Leaving the Atocha Station (Coffee House Press) marks the poet's first foray into prose fiction—with, it has to be said, very impressive results.
February 2, 2012
‘He was a social democrat and a fool, but may the Lord grant him eternal glory.'
February 2, 2012
Almost two years have passed since Liu Xiaobo, the poet, professor and political dissident, won the Nobel Peace Prize (becoming the first person from mainland China to receive the distinction).
February 2, 2012
The namesake story of Thomas P. Balázs's debut collection, Omicron Ceti III (Aqueous Books), opens with a list by Erik, the wry and institutionalized main character.
March 3, 2012
Recently, there was a major news story about Russian scientists in Antarctica who, after drilling d
March 3, 2012
Set against the backdrop of Russian history from the time of Peter the Great to the post-Soviet collapse, Stephan Eirik Clark's debut collection of short stories Vladimir's Mustache invokes a remarkable series o
March 3, 2012
Everyone has encountered the freeloader. He's the guy who was always hanging around, having a good time, never footing the bill or pitching in.
April 4, 2012
In Kevin Barry's new novel City of Bohane (Graywolf Press), it is easy to be swept under by the sheer inventiveness of his writing and the deeply imagined shape of the world he's created.
April 4, 2012
Whenever a big test match bubbles up to the international sports headlines, I start to get uncomfortable. As a sports fan, I want to like—or at least understand—cricket, but I've never been able to make sense out of its mysterious scoring, languid pace, and baroque, yet oddly arbitrary, rules system.
May 5, 2012
Toggling in time between modern-day Russia, the Siege of Leningrad, and the ineffable romance of Paris, Andreï Makine's rather short, but rarely sweet novel, The Life of an Unknown Man
June 6, 2012
Perhaps most famous for its seven-hour film adaptation by Bela Tarr, this is the first translation of Lazlo Krasznahorkai's breakthrough novel, Satantango (New Directions), to appear in English since its original publication in 1985, twenty-seven years
June 6, 2012
Antigone's story is perhaps the most tragic in the Oedipal cycle – the story of the seed, the victim, the side-effect, of the accidental incestuous coupling of her father with Oedipus's mother, Jocasta.
September 9, 2012
<Michael Kimball's new novel, BIG RAY (Bloomsbury), about a man's deceased 500 pound father, is a slim 180 pages of more than 500 short entries ranging in size from a couple of
October 10, 2012
As if the psychological fallout of war wasn't a poignant enough trope (namely Afghanistan), Hold It ‘Til It Hurts (Coffee House Press)
October 10, 2012
Looking at them collectively, the premises of J. Robert Lennon's novels may at times seem like particular creative writing assignments that he has given to himself.
November 11, 2012
It's Fine By Me (Graywolf Press) is a familiar story of a tough kid, a menacing father, and a lonely and often brutal coming of age.
November 11, 2012
The Sky Conducting, Michael J. Seidlinger's debut novel, is a sometimes unsettling, often dry entry into the annals of post-apocalyptic dystopian literature.

2013

January 1, 2013
The short story has long been a hotbed for the wicked, off-kilter, anomalous, and unnoticeable. Blame the brevity of the genre's form, which allows for a degree of leniency with backstory, character development, and the logic of a fictional universe -- a suspension of disbelief perfect for portrayals of fringe society.
February 2, 2013
Percival Everett by Virgil Russell (Graywolf Press) is distinguished English professor and prolific author Percival Everett's twenty-fifth novel and is being hailed -- as the dizzying title reflects -- his most labyrinthine and “categ
February 2, 2013
The National Stadium in Santiago, Chile, was built in 1938, and in its first decades played host to many major events, including the World Cup in 1962.
March 3, 2013
Going in to Melissa Harrison's debut novel, Clay (Bloomsbury), it helps to understand the extent to which the
March 3, 2013
The Story of My Purity's narrator, Piero Rosini, teeters on the edge of his fanatical Catholic faith. He doesn't realize this, of course, but we do.
April 4, 2013
In fifteenth century Italy, the zibaldone appeared. A new type of book, the zibaldone collected bits and pieces of various texts according to its compiler's taste, adhering to no other discernible order.
April 4, 2013
Billed as an "existential murder mystery," Norah Labiner's fourth novel, Let the Dark Flower Blossom (Coffee House Pre
May 5, 2013
Works in translation occupy a strange, pleasing limbo for well-rounded readers. Typically they enter public notice after the first cycle of literary prizes abroad has rained down on the head of the author, but before foregone conclusions and assumptions precede the books themselves.
May 5, 2013
*****Original Message***** (Hunt & Light) exists precisely at the place where people write forlorn Facebook statuses instead of diary entries.
May 5, 2013
“Soon though, it became clear the blog was missing a key element, a sagacity that comes with age that could activate the yeast, as it were, and bring the loaf of true thought into the world. The blog was missing my presence.”
June 6, 2013
Heroism is one of those things that you can see only if you don't look at it too closely.
July 7, 2013
Roughly ten years after his singular and eye-opening philosophical work Straw Dogs, John Gray has returned with
August 8, 2013
Foolish behavior is a key ingredient of human nature. We tend to waste a great deal of our vitality pursuing goals of dubious value. Confronting this basic truth, writers have a few options.
September 9, 2013
From the beginning there is a mood of claustrophobia and stifled, unaired rooms in Merethe Lindstrøm's prize-winning novel, Days in the History of Silence (
September 9, 2013
Abby Geni's debut short story collection, The Last Animal (
October 10, 2013
Daniel, the narrator of Dan Beachy-Quick's novel, An Impenetrable Screen of Purest Sky (Cof
October 10, 2013
Introduced to this “part dream-memoir, part semi-fictive journey through a hallucinatory Bucharest,” in the jacket copy, one cracks open the 464-page Blinding (Archipelago Books)
December 12, 2013
To read Robert Walser is to fall under the enchantment of a particularly open and youthful enthusiasm.
December 12, 2013
It isn't terribly difficult to imagine why Janet Frame might have chosen to stipulate that In the Memorial Room (Counterpoint Press) be published only after her death.

2014

January 1, 2014
Chances are you have heard someone, a creative type or otherwise, romantically reflect on their youth as a time of boundless energy when they were out to ‘set the world on fire,' or something similar to that effect.
January 1, 2014
Christopher Merkner's debut story collection, The Rise & Fall of the Scandamerican Domestic (
January 1, 2014
Rachel Cantor's blast of a debut novel, A Highly Unlikely Scenario (Melville House), is one of the more efficient Literary Pleasure Delivery Systems ava
February 2, 2014
If we start from Randall Jarrell's definition of a novel as “a prose narrative of some length that has something wrong with it,” Elizabeth Mikesch's new book, Niceties: Aural Ardor, Pardon Me (
February 2, 2014
It is fitting in a number of ways that The Jesus Lizard Book (Akashic Books) now exists.
March 3, 2014
Years ago, fresh cut from one of those breakups that forces you to alter your daily life on the most minute levels, I was attending the wedding of a family member marrying her first love after a few months' courtship.
March 3, 2014
David Burr Gerrard's debut novel Short Century (Barnacle Books/Rare Bird) answers that question strongly in
March 3, 2014
It takes a genius to title a book something as emphatically negative as Can't and Won't (Farrar, Straus and Giroux).
April 4, 2014
Rule number one of life is always this: don't make a deal with the devil. It's a simple governing rule, really; No matter how tempting, no matter how enticing, you just don't do it. But the devil is good at tempting people. He offers them what they want, not what they need, and our fortitude is weak against temptation.
April 4, 2014
Was there ever a better guarantee to the reader than an author’s connection with place?
April 4, 2014
If you're looking for proof that language naturally carries the mineral ore of poetry within it, turn to Beth Steidle's The Static Herd (
May 5, 2014
In Talking to Ourselves (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), Andrés Neuman
May 5, 2014
“It was my life that was lying in the middle of my life like that, like a pole-axed wildebeest.”
September 9, 2014
Note: Images link to Valeria's Amazon page; links to the individual books are below, in the first sentence of the article.
September 9, 2014
Out of the Dust, a collection of poetry recently translated from German, offers the reader a series of stark and often surprisingly unsettling glances through the eyes of the Swiss poet, Klaus Merz.
October 10, 2014
The characters in Monica McFawn's Flannery O'Connor award-winning story collection Bright Shards of Someplace Else (
October 10, 2014
Though doomed from birth and dead by the exodus, Antigone endures endlessly. As the central figure in Sophocles' eponymous tragedy, she was conjured—righteous and rebellious—in 441 BCE and has been invoked, translated, reincarnated, and re-imagined countless times since.
November 11, 2014
Now We Will Be Happy (University of Nebraska Press, 2014) announces in its title the doom of its characters, for of course no such declaration can possibly be fulfilled.
December 12, 2014
Baby Girl and Perry, the 'fake ass thugs' at the center of Lindsay Hunter's debut novel Ugly Girls (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), spend their days waiting for the night, the moment when they can hotwire

2015

February 2, 2015
Is there a right way to be happy?
February 2, 2015
WHEN POST-PREGNANCY IS A HORROR MOVIE
February 2, 2015
Uncertainty and indecision are not limited to any specific demographic, but they are both central to adolescence. Whereas later in life they can lead to wheel spinning, on the path to adulthood they're just as likely to serve as driving factors. At that age, an action is going to be taken one way or another.
March 3, 2015
The first story you encounter in See You in Paradise, J.
March 3, 2015
Welcome to Braggsville (William Morrow) is the story of D'aron Little May Davenport, valedictorian of Braggsville (“The City that Love Built in the Heart of Georgia, Population 712”) high school and t
April 4, 2015
Money, religion, sex, intrigue: Mario Vargas Llosa delivers all of these in his new novel, The Discreet Hero (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), as befits a Nobel prize-winning author who stated at the
April 4, 2015
Per Petterson's I Refuse (Graywolf Press) is, as the title suggests, a novel concerned with egoism and repression.
May 5, 2015
Set twenty years in the past, Stacy Wakefield's debut novel, The Sunshine Crust Baking Factory (Akashic Books), comes at an op
June 6, 2015
Poet and playwright Deborah Levy staked out the territory of post-modern alienation with a vengeance in her first two novellas.
August 8, 2015
Susan Neiman's lively treatise on the how modern society celebrates the trappings of youth and rejects the stigmas of adulthood, Why Grow Up?: Subve
September 9, 2015
In A Woman Loved (Graywolf Press), Russian-born French author Andreï Makine uses one writer's obsession with Catherine the Great to ask h
October 10, 2015
Fifteen-year-old Julie Winter is a typical teen, but Sara Jaffe's careful presentation of her coming of age in Dryland (
October 10, 2015
On every page of Sentences and Rain (Coffee House Press), Elaine Equi's latest collection of poetry, you will find words and images in surprising, purepoetic, and truth-revealing juxtaposition—pages thrumming with the activity of an original imagination.
October 10, 2015
Lincoln Michel's Upright Beasts (Coffee House Press) is a debut collection of short fiction comprised of genre-bend
November 11, 2015
Nearly all of the characters featured in Percival Everett's new short story collection, Half an Inch of Water are in various states of emotional or psychological agitation.
November 11, 2015
One of Europe's preeminent literary enfant terribles is back in force with Submission (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), sowing discomfort among readers across the political spectrum with this satire projecting th
December 12, 2015
There is blood on the hands of the American soul. If we are born American citizens, we inherit this stain; but if we begin our lives elsewhere and then choose our American citizenship, we must absorb the stain as a necessary burden.

2016

February 2, 2016
“He has learned that this is something one can do with words, stretch them into softness and push them past their meaning. Take him, for example. He prefers the word lost instead of taken. Lost is much much better. Things that are taken are never given back. Things that are lost can be found.”
March 3, 2016
It is no surprise to find Cote Smith's debut novel, Hurt People, published under the FSG Originals imprint, which has a penchant for tales from the dark underbelly of America.

You've found the

KGB Bar Archives

- a compilation of over 12 years of literary, musical and other content.

Since 2016, KGB Bar Lit has been our home for literary content, but feel free to peruse the archives while you're here.

And, of course, don't forget check out KGB Bar for the latest goings-on at both KGB Bar and The Red Room, New York City's best-kept secret!

Enjoy!

Note:


Each article in these archives was reconstituted from old data whose integrity varied. In many cases, some images and/or formatting may have been lost in the process.

If you're an author who would like to update an article, please send us a message via the site contact form and we'll see what we can do. Thank you!