Fiction & Literature Book Reviews (page 1743)

THE MUD PEOPLE by Laney Mackenna Mark
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: March 18, 1998

"The result doesn't have the hallucinatory, flesh-and-blood power of Bunyan, but it could catch on."
An adroit parable in the manner of The Pilgrim's Progress, neatly done. Read full book review >
ROVER'S TALES by Michael Z. Lewin
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: March 17, 1998

"A must for the dog-mad, but these cute-free tales are witty and wry enough to reach others with cross-species wisdom."
Lewin, noted for his pixilated parade of unlikely detectives (Family Business, 1995, etc.), forgoes mysteries for the picaresque meanderings and musings of Rover, the Independent Dog. Read full book review >

IN A LAND OF PLENTY by Tim Pears
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: March 16, 1998

"Several cuts above Delderfield and Cronin, and two or three below Angus Wilson, whose No Laughing Matter it resembles."
An agreeable and generally absorbing second novel from the British author of the highly acclaimed contemporary pastoral In the Play of Fallen Leaves (1995). Read full book review >
DEAD AS A DOORNAIL by Grant Michaels
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: March 16, 1998

"Jokey, flighty, featherweight, and a notch below Time to Check Out (1996): not for any except devotees of malicious pansexual gossip."
Moneyed ex-hairdresser Stan Kraychik, who's now added ex-cop-in-training to his rÇsumÇ (despite his sharpshooting prowess, he's officially on a leave of absence from the Boston police academy and knows that the homophobia he's seen on the force will keep him from returning), has started rehabbing a South End brownstone. Read full book review >
LOTERÍA by Ruben Mendoza
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: March 16, 1998

"Still, craft and energy enough to suggest that Mendoza is a writer to watch."
An energetic if uneven debut collection focusing mostly on the lives of Hispanics in modern California. Read full book review >

SLAUGHTERMATIC by Steve Aylett
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: March 16, 1998

"Droll, convoluted gamesmanship. (First serial to Bomb Magazine & New York Press)"
Even if Britisher Aylett doesn't use William Burroughs's ruse of cutting pages lengthwise and joining mismatched halves, his first book to be published here remains a baffling exercise in virtual reality storytelling, nearly as hallucinatory as Burroughs' work. Read full book review >
THE CASTLE by Franz Kafka
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: March 9, 1998

"In either translation, The Castle is a major modern symbolist work, and it's good to have it in print once again."
Kafka's great allegory (originally published, posthumously, in 1926) of a supposed surveyor adrift in a "castle," which may be no more than a collection of random buildings, memorably expresses his distinctive vision of a formless and secretive world that frustrates our efforts to comprehend it. Read full book review >
AN INSTANCE OF THE FINGERPOST by Iain Pears
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: March 9, 1998

"Rashomon meets The Name of the Rose in a triumphant triple-decker that knocks every speck of dust from the historical mystery. (First printing of 80,000; $150,000 ad/promo; Book-of-the-Month main selection)"
Nothing in Pears's five archly amusing art mysteries (Giotto's Hand, p. 839; The Last Judgement, 1996, etc.) hints at the range or depth or boldness of this multifaceted scrutiny of a murder case in Restoration Oxford. Read full book review >
ELECTION by Tom Perrotta
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: March 9, 1998

"It's a done deal that Matthew Broderick will play Mr. M. in the forthcoming film, and that Perrotta's well-deserved success will undoubtedly enable him to write better novels than this one—perhaps even another as good as The Wishbones. (Film rights to MTV Films/Paramount)"
Perrotta's delightful first novel, The Wishbones (1997), and a preceding story collection, Bad Haircut (1994), observed with wry and hilarious wit the agonies of growing up (and also of refusing to) in suburban New Jersey in the 1970s. Read full book review >
THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION by Gore Vidal
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: March 9, 1998

"Even Norman Mailer will like this novel."
Another merry riff on Washington power politics, struggles, and failures from the venerable curmudgeon and sage: an appealingly unholy marriage of Burr, Duluth, and a suavely Vidalian amalgam of Tom Sawyer and Tom Swift. Read full book review >
THE FIERY PANTHEON by Nancy Lemann
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: March 8, 1998

"Instead, Lemann indulges her fondness for all things quaint and dashing, nostalgia for an imagined past."
Lemann's third novel moves farther away from her native New Orleans, and farther from the engaging and eccentric world of chaos and decay that made her first book (Lives of the Saints, 1985) such a delightful, boozy romp. Read full book review >
SPENDING by Mary Gordon
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: March 2, 1998

"Not Gordon's best, but well worth reading. (Author tour)"
What might be called a kind of feminist apostasy suffuses this often entertaining but ultimately disappointing fifth novel from the author of The Rest of Life (1993), among other fiction, and a recent memoir, The Shadow Man (1996). Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Nancy Isenberg
author of WHITE TRASH
July 19, 2016

Poor Americans have existed from the time of the earliest British colonial settlement. They were alternately known as “waste people,” “offals,” “rubbish,” “lazy lubbers,” and “crackers.” By the 1850s, the downtrodden included so-called “clay eaters” and “sandhillers,” known for prematurely aged children distinguished by their yellowish skin, ragged clothing, and listless minds. Surveying political rhetoric and policy, popular literature and scientific theories over 400 years, in White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America, Nancy Isenberg upends assumptions about America’s supposedly class-free society––where liberty and hard work were meant to ensure real social mobility. Poor whites were central to the rise of the Republican Party in the early nineteenth century, and the Civil War itself was fought over class issues nearly as much as it was fought over slavery. “A riveting thesis supported by staggering research,” our reviewer writes in a starred review. View video >