David L. Ulin

Columnist

David L. Ulin is the former book critic of the Los Angeles Times. A 2015 Guggenheim Fellow, he is the author or editor of nine books, including "Sidewalking: Coming to Terms with Los Angeles," the novella "Labyrinth," “The Lost Art of Reading: Why Books Matter in a Distracted Time” and the Library of America’s “Writing Los Angeles: A Literary Anthology,” which won a California Book Award. He left The Times in 2015. 

Recent Articles

  • In Ronald Fraser's 'Drought,' outsider gets in path of village's future

    In Ronald Fraser's 'Drought,' outsider gets in path of village's future

    Ronald Fraser's "Drought" is an uneven novel, but when it is good, it is very, very good — as in Graham Greene good. The story of a British expatriate named John, who in the late 1950s quits his newspaper job and escapes to the Andalusian mountain village of Benalamar, "Drought" offers a saga of...

  • Remembering E.L. Doctorow, great American mythologist

    Remembering E.L. Doctorow, great American mythologist

    E.L. Doctorow, who died Tuesday of complications from lung cancer at 84, was perhaps the most American novelist of his generation. More than Philip Roth or John Updike, more even than Norman Mailer, Doctorow created fiction that existed at the intersection of American myth and hypocrisy. His first...

  • Anders Nilsen's sketchbook art

    Anders Nilsen's sketchbook art

    Anders Nilsen is called a comics artist, but that’s not exactly what he does. Yes, his books are visual, but Nilsen seems at times to be about the deconstruction of form itself in favor of a purer style of storytelling, gathering evidence: images, correspondence, notes from the author to himself....

  • In 'Speak,' distinct voices from distinct eras ponder human connection

    In 'Speak,' distinct voices from distinct eras ponder human connection

    In the middle of her second novel, "Speak," Louisa Hall quotes T.S. Eliot from "Four Quartets": "Time present and time past are both present in time future, and time future contained in time past." It's a telling choice, for time — present, past and future — is a key element of this fiction, which...

  • Don't let 'Go Set a Watchman' change the way you think about Atticus Finch: How his character evolved

    Don't let 'Go Set a Watchman' change the way you think about Atticus Finch: How his character evolved

    Let me play devil’s advocate for a moment: Why should the revelations in “Go Set a Watchman” -- most notably, its portrait of Atticus Finch as a segregationist -- change the way we think about Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird”? “Go Set a Watchman,” after all, is not a sequel to the original...

  • Harper Lee's 'Go Set a Watchman' reveals a darker side of Maycomb

    Harper Lee's 'Go Set a Watchman' reveals a darker side of Maycomb

    It would be a mistake to read Harper Lee’s “Go Set a Watchman” as a sequel to her 1960 Pulitzer Prize winning “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Yes, it takes place a generation after the earlier book, involving a visit from Scout Finch – now 26 and using her given name, Jean Louise – to her hometown of...

  • 'The Best Team Money Can Buy' profiles post-McCourt Dodgers

    'The Best Team Money Can Buy' profiles post-McCourt Dodgers

    Molly Knight begins "The Best Team Money Can Buy: The Los Angeles Dodgers' Wild Struggle to Build a Baseball Powerhouse" with a brutal moment: Clayton Kershaw's collapse in Game 6 of the 2013 National League Championship Series. As anyone who was watching will remember, he gave up seven runs in...

  • Rereading 'To Kill a Mockingbird': It lingers, but not in the way he expected

    Rereading 'To Kill a Mockingbird': It lingers, but not in the way he expected

    To reread "To Kill a Mockingbird" in advance of Tuesday's release of Harper Lee's much-anticipated follow-up, "Go Set a Watchman," is not so much an exercise in nostalgia as in cognitive dissonance. Dissonance? Yes, because even the most sympathetic characters in the novel regard racism with what...

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