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Book Review

  1. book review
    Finally, Some Freaky K-pop WritingEsther Yi’s debut novel, Y/N, is great parody, throwing readers down the hole of obsession in all its fevered absurdity.
  2. book review
    Catherine Lacey’s Alternate America in Biography of XA “biography” with a warped sense of history.
  3. book review
    What Their Psychiatrists Won’t Tell YouIn Rachel Aviv’s book Strangers to Ourselves, personal narratives of mental illness take primacy over institutions’.
  4. book review
    Kathy Acker Wanted EverythingEat Your Mind, a new biography of the writer and punk feminist icon, is both maddening and compulsively readable.
  5. book review
    Mum’s the Word: Elizabeth Remains a Cipher in New Biography The Queen: Her LifeAuthor Andrew Morton doesn’t even try to pin his subject down, offering instead Wikipedia-deep chronologies and press-release prose.
  6. book review
    In Surrender, Bono Embraces His ContradictionsThe U2 frontman does not shy away from blunt self-reflection in his poetic and very Bono memoir.
  7. book review
    Radiation Takes Center Stage, for Better or Worse, in Trinity, Trinity, TrinityJapanese history and “unseen forces” propel Erika Kobayashi’s science fiction thriller, sometimes at the expense of its own characters.
  8. book review
    When Grief Returns Again, and Again, and Again …In her time-looping novel The Furrows, Namwali Serpell’s deft use of repetition makes the plot feel dynamic even as she retells the same story.
  9. book review
    Ottessa Moshfegh Is Praying for UsThe author has been hailed as a high priestess of filth. Really, she wants to purify her readers.
  10. book review
    A Memoir of Prison Time, Delivered With a Note of ApologyIn Corrections in Ink, Keri Blakinger writes about the years of addiction and incarceration she lived through before becoming a reporter.
  11. book review
    Either/Or Is a Coming-of-Age Story That Moves at the Speed of ThoughtEither/Or is a sequel to Elif Batuman’s campus novel The Idiot — and it reveals what she’s been up to this whole time.
  12. book review
    In These Novels of Tech Dystopia, Memories Belong to the CloudJennifer Egan’s The Candy House and Vauhini Vara’s The Immortal King Rao are two very different books with a troubling shared prediction.
  13. book review
    In the Novel Post-Traumatic, a Trauma Plot Refuses the ObviousIn Chantal V. Johnson’s novel Post-Traumatic, the story of one woman’s breakdown feels visceral and specific.
  14. book review
    Sheila Heti Does It the Artist’s WayHer novel Pure Colour is strange, even incoherent. But it also has the power to make you feel better.
  15. close reads
    Hanya’s BoysThe novelist tends to torture her gay male characters — but only so she can swoop in to save them.
  16. book review
    Edith Schloss, 20th-Century WomanIn her book The Loft Generation, a fixture of the midcentury New York art scene gets a long-overdue introduction.
  17. book review
    Love Behind Bars Is Possible. It’s Just Absurdly Hard.In Love Lockdown, journalist Elizabeth Greenwood follows couples who are trying to make it work when at least one partner is in prison.
  18. book review
    The Sentence Shows the Downside of UrgencyLouise Erdrich’s novel takes on the 2020 protests — and draws conclusions that feel dated already.
  19. book review
    ‘What Is the Power of My Body?’Emily Ratajkowski may want to join the feminist discourse, but in her essay collection she’s mostly in conversation with herself.
  20. book review
    In Rax King’s Book Tacky, Lowbrow Is High PraiseA new essay collection celebrating trash culture is less certain about why some things are considered tacky at all.
  21. book review
    Kwon Yeo-sun’s ‘Lemon’ Is a Murder Mystery That Refuses to Be SolvedThe novel by Kwon Yeo-sun tracks the aftermath of a teen girl’s murder, with three very unreliable narrators.
  22. book review
    Fear and Loathing in ‘Asian America’In The Loneliest Americans, Jay Caspian Kang tries but fails to restore meaning to an empty term.
  23. book review
    A So-So Franzen Novel Is Still Better Than Most Books. That Said …In Crossroads, too many boring characters are boring in the same way.
  24. book review
    The Magician Resists the Shallow Gestures of the Hollywood BiopicColm Tóibín’s new novel about Thomas Mann reaches for depths in its subject that mainstream film wouldn’t bother with.
  25. book review
    In Chang-rae Lee’s My Year Abroad, There’s No Escaping the SelfThe novel by Chang-rae Lee turns a coming-of-age trope into something much more bleak and strange.
  26. book review
    You’ve Heard This One BeforeMaggie Nelson believes we react too quickly and think ungenerously. In her new book, she’s guilty of both.
  27. book review
    Sally Rooney in the StruggleBeautiful World, Where Are You is both her clearest attempt to wrestle with big ideas and her least readable novel.
  28. book review
    Magma Lucidly Captures the Magical Thinking of a Coercive RelationshipWe see a young woman increasingly substituting an abuser’s logic for her own, and we see the ways that such a substitution damages her.
  29. book review
    Alexandra Kleeman Writes a Neo-Noir About an Even Thirstier HollywoodIn her novel Something New Under the Sun, Alexandra Kleeman writes a water war as disturbing as it is absurd.
  30. book review
    Writing Love Notes to the Archive of Black PerformanceBooks by Hanif Abdurraqib and Daphne A. Brooks are devoted to performers of the past and present—and their adoring fans.
  31. book review
    In Rachel Cusk’s ‘Second Place,’ a Search for Connection Feels ClaustrophobicIn a new novel, a writer known for her cool remove drowns the reader in her protagonist’s obsessions.
  32. book review
    In Klara and the Sun, Artificial Intelligence Meets Real SacrificeKazuo Ishiguro’s novel proposes a world where the machines never revolt.
  33. book review
    100 Boyfriends Is a Taxonomy of DesireBrontez Purnell’s new book roams the edges of queer romance.
  34. book review
    DeLillo and Amis’s New Books Are Lazy Versions of Their Greatest HitsIf you’re looking to the old guard for innovation, you’re in for a disappointing reading season.
  35. book review
    Caste Offers a New Word for Injustice in America, Not a New Way of ThinkingIn Isabel Wilkerson’s book, caste replaces racism as the most accurate term to describe the inequities of American society.
  36. book review
    Zadie Smith’s Intimations Makes a Joyful Case for InconsistencyIn every essay, there is a moment when Smith revises herself or catches herself in a mistake.
  37. vulture recommends
    Sasha Geffen’s Glitter Up the Dark Is an Essential Companion to the Year’s MusicYou’ll devour Glitter Up the Dark with eyes wide and mind racing, drawing connections to whatever music you listen to.
  38. book review
    After Months Spent Inside, The Great Indoors Is Uncannily RelevantFrom microbes to building design, Emily Anthes’s new book explores the science of indoor living.
  39. book review
    What’s the Deal With Eels?A new book examines what we know about the mysterious creature, and a lot more that we do not.
  40. book review
    Elizabeth Gilbert’s New Novel Is All Sex, No DriveCity of Girls fails in its mission to make a liberated 1940s glamour girl compelling.
  41. book review
    War, Drugs, and Other Extremes in the Post-Post-9/11 NovelTwo recent novels, Ohio and Waiting for Eden, try to keep pace with our state of permanent crisis.
  42. lit parade
    Lisa Brennan-Jobs’s Memoir Is the Sleeper Critical Hit of the SeasonIn our second installment of Lit Parade, a look at a memoir by Steve Jobs’s daughter with literary chops that caught critics by surprise.
  43. Nico Walker’s Cherry Might Be the First Great Novel of the Opioid EpidemicIt is also one of the best war novels written in a generation.
  44. book review
    Lydia Millet Is Not Nearly As Famous As She Should Be.The novelist is ferociously untame, paying little heed to the boundaries of realism and even less to those of class.
  45. book review
    Rachel Cusk’s Kudos: The Outline Trilogy Gets Its Third MasterpieceVoice and style — can they be separated? The auteurs of autofiction are all stylists and tension between style and voice is why we’ve flocked to them.
  46. book review
    What Is Missing From Rachel Kushner’s New The Mars Room? Besides Plot.It’s fair to want more from a novel than the sensation of nodding your head in agreement.
  47. books
    Alan Hollinghurst’s New, Deviously Anti-Sensationalist Gay-Generation-Gap NovelThe way life opens up to one character in a way that it never could for his father is the novel’s real subject.
  48. Lisa Halliday’s Tremendous New Experiment of a NovelThe book is split in two. Which half is “more interesting,” a young woman’s unlikely romance or a young man’s encounter with world affairs?
  49. books
    Will Zadie Smith Ever Feel Free?Her new collection of essays brings to an end a 15-year psychodrama period for her writing.
  50. books
    Denis Johnson Left Us With One Final — and Terrific — BookWith a new, posthumous short-story collection, the author of Jesus’ Son still haunts the culture, for good reason.
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