Fiction & Literature Book Reviews (page 2632)

CADILLAC JACK  by Larry McMurtry
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 11, 1982

"Somebody Darling."
McMurtry's down-home fictions have always been juiced up with side-orders of raunchy charm and beer-barrel comedy—but this time he tries, with middling results, to make an entire novel out of such enticing (yet ultimately wearying) trimmings. Read full book review >
THE BURNING HOUSE by Ann Beattie
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 5, 1982

"Once again: brilliantly crafted stories about yesterday's children living without context, naked to pain, knowing that home fires can lead to a burning when you 'play house."
"I have had this revelation: that you can look at something, close your eyes and see it again and still know nothing—like staring at the sky to figure out the distance between stars." Read full book review >

A SUSAN SONTAG READER by Susan Sontag
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 4, 1982

"With only Illness as Metaphor not represented: a solid one-volume introduction to a major writer."
The only Sontag material in this "Reader" which has not previously appeared in book form is an April 1975 interview with Sontag, originally published in the quarterly Salmagundi: in it Sontag responds to feminist criticism by noting "its demands for intellectual simplicity, advanced in the name of ethical solidarity"; she eloquently deals with the would-be labeling of art as "reactionary" or "radical"; and she convincingly defends her writings on pornography, on camp, and totalitarianism. Read full book review >
MONSIGNOR QUIXOTE by Graham Greene
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 27, 1982

The theological shade of Greene—in a wispy, undramatic, but charming modern-day fable, loosely paralleling the Cervantes classic. Read full book review >
A BLOODSMOOR ROMANCE by Joyce Carol Oates
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 22, 1982

"But the mock-longwinded prose here is, as it happens, a good deal more readable than the earnest, pretentiously longwinded prose of recent Oates fiction; and readers with a taste for whimsical historical-novel sendups will find this mildly, thickly entertaining—certainly less lumbering than Erica Jong's Fanny, if far less pointed or vivid than Ray Russell's Pamela novels."
Oates did her morbid, verbose thing with The Great American Family Saga in Bellefleur (1980). Read full book review >

DANCING GIRLS by Margaret Atwood
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 20, 1982

"Still, the story form finally seems a little inhospitable to Atwood's unsparingly discomforting talent, which benefits most from a poem's distillation or a novel's large clemency; and these pieces, too short for real development but long enough to become terribly dreary, offer only flickering evidence of Atwood's substantial gifts."
The themes are quintessentially Atwoodian: a little terror, a lot of ennui, and women's hunger for exactly the things they detest most (or so they think). Read full book review >
MORE TALES OF PIRX THE PILOT by Louis Iribarne
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 17, 1982

"A ruminative, often discursive bunch, wanting in urgency and drama—without the mature idea-wrestling of last year's Memoirs of a Space Traveler."
Five more tales featuring Pirx—a bumbling rookie in the original Tales (1979), now a seasoned and level-headed (but coolly cerebral) space jockey. Read full book review >
THE VALLEY OF HORSES by Jean M. Auel
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 10, 1982

"But, though this has less tribal texture than Cave Bear, the anthropological details and the hard-core sex again make an earthy combination—so Ayla followers can probably be expected to return for more Stone Age action."
Remember Ayla, the Cro-Magnon orphan who was raised by a tribe of less-evolved Neanderthals in Clan of the Cave Bear (1980)? Read full book review >
GOD'S GRACE by Bernard Malamud
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 8, 1982

"And the result is a disappointing, predictable parable—intentionally funny at times but unintentionally funny too, hollow in most of its lyrical moments, and only occasionally provocative in its eclectic philosophizing."
The nuclear holocaust has come and gone. Read full book review >
DIFFERENT SEASONS by Stephen King
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 27, 1982

"Thin gimmicks, weighed down with King's weak characters and weaker prose (unlike his crisp short stories)—but the fans may come around yet again, despite the clear evidence that King needs the supernatural to distract from his awesome limitations as a mainstream storyteller."
It will take all of King's monumental byline-insurance to drum up an audience for this bottom-of-the-trunk collection: four overpadded novellas, in non-horror genres—without the gripping situations needed to transcend King's notoriously clumsy writing. Read full book review >
THE COMPASS ROSE by Ursula K. Le Guin
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 21, 1982

"But, for the most part, there are inexhaustible playings and seeings and imaginings—from a shrewd and various writer who can think something through till it seems to cohere in the mind's eye."
As a guide to sailors this book is not to be trusted," remarks Ursula Le Guin of her latest collection of stories. Read full book review >
AUNT JULIA AND THE SCRIPTWRITER by Helen Lane
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 1, 1982

"All done with the fondest savoring of the virtues of truly popular culture, innocence, imagination: a graceful, untaxing, sweetly subtle book."
Of all the major South American novelists, Vargas Llosa may be the sunniest: he never tries too hard to hold back a sophisticated yet honest amusement at how oddly life usually moves around; his stories of 1950s Lima and Peru have a vernal lilt as well as an expected complexity. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Katey Sagal
author of GRACE NOTES
April 10, 2017

In her memoir Grace Notes, actress and singer/songwriter Katey Sagal takes you through the highs and lows of her life, from the tragic deaths of her parents to her long years in the Los Angeles rock scene, from being diagnosed with cancer at the age of twenty-eight to getting her big break on the fledgling FOX network as the wise-cracking Peggy Bundy on the beloved sitcom Married…with Children. Sparse and poetic, Grace Notes is an emotionally riveting tale of struggle and success, both professional and personal: Sagal’s path to sobriety; the stillbirth of her first daughter, Ruby; motherhood; the experience of having her third daughter at age 52 with the help of a surrogate; and her lifelong passion for music. “While this book is sure to please the author’s many fans, its thoughtful, no-regrets honesty will no doubt also appeal to readers of Hollywood memoirs seeking substance that goes beyond gossip and name-dropping,” our critic writes. “A candid, reflective memoir.” View video >