| May 24, 2009
Will You Take Me as I Am
Joni Mitchell's Blue Period
Free Press: 240 pp., $24.99
When Joni Mitchell thinks about confession, two things come to mind: witch hunts and Catholic priests. To be held up as the exemplar of confessional...
| Jan 14, 2009
At some point, there's a large and interesting essay to be written on why so much of the most interesting new English-language fiction comes to us from Indian and Irish writers.
When it is, there ought to be a substantial section devoted to Patrick...
| Jun 10, 2008
| 3:05 PM
June 11, 2008
There are a number of terrific ideas rattling around in David Rabe's cavernous new novel, "Dinosaurs on the Roof."
Unfortunately, they're ideas that -- properly honed and focused to an appropriate scale -- probably would have made a...
| Jun 20, 2008
There's painting, sculpture and a bunch of short plays. Also a bar, fair trade chocolate and a big bowl of Chex Mix. Now playing at Art Share L.A., "A Thousand Words" is an inviting, if erratic, conversation between nine writers and nine downtown artists....
| Oct 4, 2009
Out this week, just in time for Octoberfest, is "Drunk: The Definitive Drinkers Dictionary." The book contains no fewer than 2,964 synonyms for "drunk." "The English language includes more synonyms for the word 'drunk' than for any other word," writes...
| Apr 16, 2010
"Elegy for April" is the third crime story that the Booker Prize-winning Irish novelist John Banville has published under the pseudonym Benjamin Black. As with the earlier books "Christine Falls" and "The Silver Swan," the action here takes place in the...
| Nov 15, 2009
Dino Buzzati: "Poem Strip" (NYRB Classics)
This is weird, wild, wonderful. Dino Buzzati was a luminary of the Italian avant-garde around the middle of the last century. His writing started out as straightforward realism but moved toward Gogol and Kafka....
| Nov 25, 2009
Partway through W.R. Burnett's 1956 noir "It's Always Four O'Clock," one of the central characters, a pianist named Royal Mauch, gives a disquisition about jazz.
"It's the only live art in the world today," he tells the novel's narrator, Stan Pawley. "[...
| Jun 17, 2009
Happy the poet whose life and work remain so well-remembered that his name becomes an adjective.
George Gordon Byron, sixth baron of that title, is certainly a poet who stands in that rarefied company, though it's hard to believe that even the linguistic...
| Jul 20, 2009
"An autobiographical fact," the Irish playwright Brian Friel once remarked, "may be a lie and no less true for all of that."
Frank McCourt, who died Sunday just a month shy of his 79th birthday, would have appreciated Friel's sentiment, for "Angela's...
| Aug 9, 2009
Two Dollar Radio: 142 pp., $15.50 paper
"Nog" is a short, strange trip, a cult classic, a blur of a novel. It was published in 1969, the debut brainchild of Rudolph Wurlitzer, child of the upper middle class, college...