“The Darkness is Deep Indeed”: Essay on Javier Marias.

My essay on Spanish writer Javier Marías has gone live at The Millions. It’s also a review of his latest novel, The Infatuations, which was just released this past Tuesday (August 11). The very short and very rough version of the essay: Marías is brilliant, and the book is brilliant, and you should read it. […]

Attitude and Passion: Rachel Kushner’s “Telex From Cuba.”

Partway through Telex from Cuba, Rachel Kushner’s debut novel, I was reminded of John Lennon. I had been reading into the background of the Beatles’ famous avant-garde experiment, “Revolution No. 9,” and had rediscovered some of Lennon’s astute political observations. Amid the chaos of the 1960s, when many youth and liberals and liberal youth spoke […]

Review of “My Beloved World.”

My review of Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s autobiography, My Beloved World, is now online at the Lincoln Journal-Star. The print version from Sunday’s paper looked fantastic, too, so if you still read newspapers in print, check it out.

Review of “Ru” by Kim Thúy.

My review of Kim Thúy’s beautiful short novel Ru is now live over at Ploughshares. A sample to give you a feel for the book: Much of Ru, Kim Thúy’s first novel, is autobiographical. An émigré from Vietnam who now lives in Montreal, Thúy writes in French, translated here by Sheila Fischman. Composed of short, dreamlike […]

Review of “The Oath” by Jeffrey Toobin.

My review of Jeffrey Toobin’s The Oath is now online at the Lincoln Journal-Star. I probably could have written a few thousand words on this book, but the review contains the gist of what my thoughts were—an interesting read, if not as interesting as it might have been. Toobin of course writes well, and sums up […]

I Know I Will Die, But I Will Live Forever: Stephen Cave’s “Immortality.”

We all know we will die, yet we cannot possibly comprehend it: an inevitability that cannot possibly be inevitable. This is the “Mortality Paradox,” and, according to Stephen Cave’s fantastic short book, Immortality, it underlies everything—from art to biology to civilization itself. Cave, a PhD in metaphysics and a former diplomat for the British Foreign Service, structures […]

Built Out of Loneliness: Paul Murray’s “Skippy Dies”

About halfway through Paul Murray’s Skippy Dies, one of the schoolboy characters, Ruprecht, reconsiders the intracacies of his beloved String Theory: Our universe, one could almost say, is actually built out of loneliness; and that foundational loneliness persists upwards to haunt every one of its residents. The loneliness, Ruprecht believes (at least at this particular […]