Fiction & Literature Book Reviews (page 2633)

SABBATICAL by John Barth
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 24, 1982

"But it's an intriguing, touching spectacle nonetheless—the avant-garde meets banal-romance—and it's certainly Barth's most accessible novel since The Sot-Weed Factor."
Some critics have long suspected that the "meta-fiction" experimentalists (those who erect a barricade of cold, ornate literary devices between story and reader) are really the least tough-minded writers around, that they often use parody and formalism to fend off—or cover up—the thin sentimentality at the heart of their work. Read full book review >
THE SCIENCE FICTION WEIGHT-LOSS BOOK by Isaac Asimov
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 22, 1982

"Simply scrumptious—however familiar some items on the menu."
At first glance this might appear an implausible anthology idea—but the upshot is a deliciously varied and diverting set of 15 yarns, from H. G. Wells to the present, examining obesity in all its ghastly guises. Read full book review >

A PALE VIEW OF HILLS by Kazuo Ishiguro
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 16, 1982

"And the result is evocative but oppressively unfocused fiction."
The present-day troubles and dark memories of Etsuko, a Nagasaki woman now living alone in England—in a strongly moody but ineffectually structured first novel. Read full book review >
LABYRINTH by Taylor Branch
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 9, 1982

"Exhaustively researched, well-written, and spooky."
A sober, unsensational "inside" account of the Orlando Letelier case, co-authored by the federal prosecutor who handled it from the day when the Chilean ex-diplomat and an assistant were killed by a car bomb in the middle of Washington, D.C. The title is apt. Read full book review >
THE COLLECTED STORIES OF ISAAC BASHEVIS SINGER by Isaac Bashevis Singer
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 8, 1982

"So, with its brief, sly yet tender introduction (the collection is dedicated to the memory of editor Rachel MacKenzie), this will draw in Singer devotees for repeat readings; and it is an essential acquisition, of course, wherever those previous collections are not available."
Forty-seven stories from Singer's 100-plus canon would more appropriately be called "Selected Stories" than "The Collected Stories"—but, if slightly mislabeled, this splendid gathering does indeed embrace the ever-surprising variety of Singer's steady short-story artistry over the past 30 years. Read full book review >

DINNER AT THE HOMESICK RESTAURANT by Anne Tyler
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: March 26, 1982

"Less magical, perhaps, than other Tylers—but her vision of saving interdependencies and time's witchiness continues to tease and enchant."
Another of Tyler's family portraits: again she draws forth that elusive aura of redemptive family unity—despite snapped loyalties, devastating loneliness, and the conflicts between those who hit life hard and those who "live life at a slant." Read full book review >
BODILY HARM by Margaret Atwood
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: March 20, 1982

"Still: strong work, reflecting a powerfully bleak vision—though too obvious and linear for fully satisfying fiction."
Rennie is a free-lance Toronto journalist in her thirties. Read full book review >
OH WHAT A PARADISE IT SEEMS by John Cheever
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: March 10, 1982

"And, however flawed the overall composition here, Cheever readers will probably feel, quite rightly, that such genuine morsels of joyful art are too precious to pass up."
Question: when are three or four John Cheever stories less welcome than one? Read full book review >
DISTANT RELATIONS by Carlos Fuentes
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: March 8, 1982

"So—though patient readers may find themselves gradually appreciating the meditative yet tough-minded approach here, the mode of ruminant distillation—this novel is one of Fuentes' less successful experiments: anemic when it attempts to be limpid and (even more so than usual with Fuentes) without the controlled craft to match its ambition."
Fuentes rarely sets an easy task for himself in his novels; usually, in fact, he takes on some sociological, political, or philosophical enormity. Read full book review >
BLOOD MERIDIAN by Cormac McCarthy
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: March 1, 1982

"Grandiose, feverish, opaque."
Virtually all of McCarthy's idiosyncratic fiction (The Orchard Keeper, Child-of God, Suttree) is suffused with fierce pessimism, relentlessly illustrating the feral destiny of mankind; and this new novel is no exception—though it is equally committed to a large allegorical structure, one that yanks its larger-than-life figures across a sere historical stage. Read full book review >
PINBALL by Jerzy Kosinski
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: March 1, 1982

"In short: Kosinski's weakest work yet, with some merchandisable sleaze and glitter here and there, but essentially as dreary as it is empty."
Like Passion Play (1979), this enervating novel suggests that Kosinski has reached a creative dead end: recycling his familiar themes and situations, but without the stylish starkness or the sense of danger in his genuinely disturbing early work. Read full book review >
INTERZONE by William S. Burroughs
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 1, 1982

"In all, food for doubt that adds little to the Burroughs reputation."
Reading this collection of Burroughs' unpublished work from 1953 to 1958, "you are present at the beginning" of his career, as his editor gushes. 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 >