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Reviews

Strange Loop

Robert Coover returns to realism

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New Books

When five brightly balaclava’d members of the Pussy Riot collective climbed atop the altar of Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior in February 2012 to chant “Our Lady, Chase Putin…

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Stalking Back

Joshua Ferris’s half-baked novel of ideas

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New Books

First, collect all the details you can on all the people you encounter — this will turn them into “characters.” Second, search this trove for the most interesting connections among the…

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A Study in Sherlock

How the detective escaped his creator

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New Books

Last fall, the Man Booker Prize, the premier award for fiction in the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth, announced that it was coming to America. Presumably Edward St. Aubyn had already…

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Consume, Screw, Kill

The origins of today’s mass extinction

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New Books

John Florio — lexicographer, raconteur, and supposed model for Shakespeare’s schoolmaster Holofernes, in Love’s Labour’s Lost — was born in London in 1553 to an unidentified Englishwoman and an Italian Protestant who’d…

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The Vampire

The fickle career of Carl Van Vechten

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Kennan Kvetches

Discussed in this essay: The Kennan Diaries, by George F. Kennan, edited by Frank Costigliola. W. W. Norton. 688 pages. $39.95. Pity the man’s poor wife. To peruse this generous selection from…

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Here There Is No Why

The trial of 12 Years a Slave

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New Books

It is inevitable that some readers will take from Evelyn Barish’s biography of the life and misdeeds of Paul de Man the notion that literary theory is a crock. The title…

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Mostpeople’s Poet

Is E. E. Cummings a serious writer?

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The Almighty Dollar

America’s self-help gospel

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Memory’s Passages

The limits of autobiography

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New Books

Bernard Malamud was born in New York City in 1914 to a family that exchanged Yiddish for English, and he always regretted the loss. Older than Bellow and, in Roth…

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The American Id

Robert Stone returns home

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Flights of Fancy

A history of ballooning

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New Books

The protagonist and narrator of E. L. Doctorow’s twelfth novel, Andrew’s Brain (Random House, $26), is a clumsy cognitive scientist who relates the story of his life from an undisclosed location…

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Bewitched

A theory of glamour

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The Mercenary Position

Can Amazon change its predatory ways?

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New Books

Ezra Pound’s dictum “Make It New” has long been cited as modernism’s driving objective. Yet Pound, in coining the phrase, was actually drawing on his own (rather free) translation of…

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Does Mailer Matter?

The Young Writer and the last literary celebrity

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At Death’s Door

The hope and hokum of immortality

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New Books

The title of Margaret Drabble’s new novel, The Pure Gold Baby (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26), refers to “Lady Lazarus,” a poem Sylvia Plath wrote a few months before she committed…

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Winds of Revolt

The poetry of Middle Eastern uprising

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New Books

Between 1985 and 1993, Bob Shacochis published two story collections and a novel, two of which were finalists for, and one of which won, the National Book Award. As literary…

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August 2014