The Novel Didn’t Come from Monkeys: Aleksandar Hemon’s “Aquarium”

I have finally recovered enough from Aleksandar Hemon’s essay “The Aquarium”—about losing his nine-month-old daughter to a brain tumor—from the New Yorker’s summer fiction issue to commit my thoughts to writing.  For all the piece faults the friends who claimed, as Hemon and his wife struggled to navigate their child’s rapidly deteriorating condition, that “words [...]

real money casino app for android

Of Mad Men and Melodrama

By now, Daniel Mendelsohn’s takedown of Mad Men in the New York Review of Books has become a regular internet scandale. The show had it coming—if only because the critical consensus has been too monolithic for such an attack not to feel overdue.  It’s fun, I suspect, to be the bubble-burster; and while Mendelsohn’s criticisms [...]

Criticism and the Anxiety of Authority

There are only so many reasons to be optimistic in American letters, but seeing the New York Times Book Review devote an issue—and a heady one at that—to the question of “Why Criticism Matters” is as heartening a start to the new year as I could hope for.  The mattering, or not mattering, of criticism [...]

In Defense of Javier Marías

Javier Marías, whose latest novel has been crowned as a masterpiece and whose name is perennially tossed around as a candidate for the Nobel, is not an author in desperate need of defending, not least by me.  But he’s one of my favorite authors, and thus I feel compelled to say a few words on [...]

David Grann’s Masterpiece Theater

Perhaps it’s the heat, or a more general summer lassitude, or the fact that the fat Hungarian novel I’m reading keeps breaking down into unidentified sub-narratives that I can only sort of follow, but my attention span of late has favored the short.  The highlight of the New Yorker backlog that piled up while I [...] reputable online casinos australia