“This question is the subject of Simon Critchley’s thin volume Bowie. Critchley, a philosopher who teaches at The New School and moderates the New York Times‘s philosophy column “The Stone,” may seem an unlikely source for an exegesis of Bowie’s art, but he stakes his claim in the book’s first line: “no person has given me greater pleasure throughout my life than David Bowie.” Critchley first saw the star in a career-defining performance on the British TV show Top of the Pops, where Bowie sang “Starman” while sporting deep orange hair and a catsuit of many colors. He was, Critchley writes, “At once cocky and vulnerable. His face full of sly understanding—a door to a world of unknown pleasures.””
“This echoes the central theme of many of Gonzales’ books, which are, at heart, studies of trauma and resilience. Those who survived, whether they walked into the golden Iowa cornfields with a few scratches, or fought their way back through months of treatment for burns and broken bones, were forced to live dramatically different lives than the ones they’d known before the crash. There was surviving the crash, and then, as Gonzales would put it, there was surviving survival.”
— Rachel Rose reviews Flight 232 by Laurence Gonzales
“In “Demons,” the story in which an Indian woman in the United States goes about her days while her husband’s dead body lies on the floor of the living room, Parameswaran gives us a new version of the immigrant experience. Savitri, our protagonist, is not scared of driving in the United States. She is not conscious of her accent or the smell of the spices from the daal simmering on the stove. When her husband’s dead body is lying in the middle of her living room, Doug Naples, the neighbor, knocks on the door. Savitri’s husband’s legs are splayed on the ground within view of the front door. Doug notices, and asks, and Savitri responds with confidence.

“She said, ‘Ravi is doing yoga. Yoga, Doug. That is, you know, one of the things we do in India. A very good thing.’””
“There is, I think, a transactional element inherent in fiction. A reader will only buy a certain amount of clumsy explanation before she needs something in return, something else to compel her attention, something like a plot or a convincing relationship. Without the drama of the human experience, the reader is left holding pages of rules and regulations that are roughly as interesting as a Dungeons & Dragons rulebook (which can be quite interesting, but only if the reader is planning to actually play the game). Ornate systems of mythical histories and commandments tend to lack the meat and movement of successful fiction—that is why people read The Silmarillion or Quidditch Through the Ages after having read The Lord of the Rings and the Harry Potter series, not the other way around.”
“I found myself thinking of Harriet Welsch as I turned these supple pages and admired the range of enjambments, wrap-around lines, numbered fragments, and assorted jottings that comprise this surprising and provocative series of proems. (No, it isn’t a typo—proems!) I also admired how slyly the book could be dropped into a handbag or pliant pocket, how smoothly withdrawn again at a moment’s notice. No matter where you enter this text, I promise you will find Cooper’s musings and revelations engrossing.”
“Since 2006, as the surgeries (salivary, thyroid cancer) have robbed from Roger (speech, voice, food), I’ve found him hard to view. I hated my weakness. Today, I don’t blink. Gauze scarfs what remains of his chin, jaw, throat—anatomy so essential it’s hard to make a face without it Childhood flashback: an industrious boy flinging newspapers. On screen, I see University of Illinois for the first time. I never visited a college. I never partied in a dorm; rarely did I party.”
The Rumpus Review of Life Itself by Joanna Novak!
“I have a pet theory that there are two kinds of people in the world: the kind comforted by knowing other people have problems similar to their own, and the kind comforted by knowing other people have problems very different from their own. I am decidedly of the latter category. Sitting in my dirty shoebox of an apartment in Brooklyn, thinking of insurance claims yet to be filed, essays to be finished and irritating relatives who need to be called back, I become easily convinced that a life with headaches in wild contrast to mine would be better. I escape not into the warm, familiar embrace of Girls or Brooklyn-based novels by Jenny Offill, but into the lives and obstacles of pearl divers off the coast of Japan, young brides awaiting marriage in Jerusalem, melancholy wives in post-war London.”
“and their absences were no more noticed
than were those of the unreturning birds
each spring until there were no words at all
for what was gone but it was always so
I have no way of telling what I miss
I am the only one who misses it”
— From The Moon Before Morning by W.S. Merwin, reviewed for The Rumpus by Camden Avery
“About halfway through Galgut’s latest novel, Arctic Summer, a particular analogy came to mind: historical fiction is to its subject as a dance is to two people crossing on the sidewalk.

Which is not to say that either form of art is false. Rather, in this case, art is an expansion, a refinement, a perfection of what was originally small or impure or chaotic.”
— Jeffrey Zuckerman reviews Arctic Summer by Damon Galgut
“Cartography as quixotic undertaking is also a theme of the indelible first novel of Belén Gopegui, a Madrid-based writer. The Scale of Maps, owing partly to its short, honed chapters, is brisk, taut storytelling. Its protagonist-narrator, Sergio Prim, describes his unusual love affair with another cartographer, his troubles at work, and the metaphysical debates he has with other mapmakers. Throughout the novel he openly questions both his own psychological reliability and ability to handle human relationships. At times, he clearly fabricates conversations and events. This novel of ideas never feels contrived or schematic.”