Books

A Crisis of Faith

In the beginning is a 12-year-old boy named Josiah Laudermilk, son of Gill Laudermilk, grandson of Orren, preaching to a congregation 4,000 large in Queens, 1980, with a Star Wars action figure secreted in his pocket, his heart anxious to meet his father’s expectations and impress the boys who find him weird for his piety, and who, in an “inspired riff, divinely played,” prophesizes that Jesus Christ will return on a great white horse in the year 2000.

Many States of America

In the confused and frightening days following the attacks on America in September of 2001, an armed Texas man with a swollen sense of nationalistic vengeance sets out in violent jihad, shooting three men he perceives to be Arab Muslims, and killing two of them.

Noble Deceit

Robert Ames, the subject of Kai Bird’s forthcoming The Good Spy, was a clandestine officer for the C.I.A. in the 1960s, ’70s, and early ’80s.

Through the Body of the Storm

Reading through Wreckage of Reason II, this convivial selection of women’s prose writing in a spectrum of non-realist forms, I found myself thinking of Guillermo del Toro’s dark, femme parable, Pan’s Labyrinth (2006).

This Instance of Entrance

There are two types of poets: those who write their poems in the same way for an eternity and those who are constantly trying out new forms. Neither is necessarily bad or good. The former includes Billy Collins, one of the most popular poets of our time, and Russell Edson, the grandfather of the American prose poem.

The Writer and the Raptor

In the fall of 1977, a London man named Martin Windrow decided to do something rather eccentric: adopt an owl.

Anatomization of a Marriage

When we first encounter Richard Haddon, the 30-something British artist in Courtney Maum’s debut novel, I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You, he has just met with commercial success in Paris, painting rooms with a keyhole view.

Enlarging the Perception of Beauty

A review of a book of reviews probably can't avoid exhibiting, in the end, the weird quality that years ago used to get called po-mo or meta—which means, sort of, that it is destined to become a review about reviews, a review about itself.

All of us in the Gutter: D. FOY in conversation with Matt Bell

Made to Break is narrated by AJ, one of five friends who headed to a cabin near Lake Tahoe for New Year’s Eve 1996. In short order, they’re stranded in the cabin by a car accident and a storm that leaves one friend severely injured and the rest of them stranded and cut off.

An Unexpected Collaboration: KENAN TREBINCEVIC and SUSAN SHAPIRO in conversation with Rob Williams

In his riveting debut memoir The Bosnia List (just out from Penguin Books), Kenan Trebincevic recounts his family’s harrowing escape from their Brcko hometown during the Balkan War, and their return, 20 years later, when Trebincevic visited his homeland and confronted his past.

Mrs. Brown's Furniture

In Virginia Woolf’s novel Night and Day (1919), the description of Ralph Denham’s bedroom includes this phrase: “The only object that threw any light upon the character of the room’s owner was a large perch, placed in the window to catch the air and sun, upon which a tame and, apparently, decrepit rook hopped dryly from side to side.”

Occasional Instances of Confession: TONY LEUZZI with David Groff

Tony Leuzzi is something of a rarity in his generation of contemporary poets: a writer who has drawn inspiration from both Stanley Kunitz and Ron Silliman. Widely- and well-read and extremely knowledgeable on mainstream and experimental traditions, both in and beyond American poetry, he has infused his work with aesthetic rigor, formal play, and a serious, decisive lyricism, balancing imaginative range with consistent formal control.

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JUNE 2014

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