There’s something uncommonly relaxing about many of McPhee’s patient elaborations of things known and unknown.
At its best, History of Violence about the tension between desire and danger, between passion and destruction.
Vicuña is populated with characters even more thinly veiled than Gore Vidal’s were 60 years ago in The Best Man.
Friendship may read to many, especially those unfamiliar with New York, as one giant inside joke without a punchline.
In a lot of ways, Jamaica Kincaid’s See Now Then tries to be like a Woolf novel, particularly To the Lighthouse.
It creates a this-is-your-life kind of recap of how the long hours around the publication of those two great novels, The Corrections and Freedom, were killed.
Bolaño would continue to lace his narratives with menace, an impending doom which could only be rationalized, if at all, in the book’s closing pages.
What we can glean from the story comes to us in the form of characters defined not by marriage, but by sex—the having of it, the anticipation, and the desire to explicate of it.
It makes two very notable exceptions to make clear what it’s after, introducing us to its subject well past his birth and receding from his death at the book’s conclusion.
Like its chronology, the book’s prose is restless and extremely private, reflecting in its rhythms and selective attentions the ways in which the characters think without ever revealing exactly what.
Imagine now that passionate strain of teenage melancholia conflated with and compounded by the familiar cruelties of middle age.
Milo Burke’s America isn’t in the throes of environmental or theocratic chaos, just a long, slow slide into mediocrity.