Sunday Evening Book Reviews

Wendy Lesser on Ann Patchett’s This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage: “Patchett’s own self-criticism would suggest that as a writer she sometimes “errs frankly on the side of sweetness.” Yet there is little sign of that gentle failing in the essays…” (NYTimes)

Antonia Clark on Lynn Levin’s Miss Plastique: “The poems in this collection display Levin’s studied attention to craft and a delightful versatility. She is equally at home with received forms (sonnet, villanelle, sestina, aphorism) and free verse.” (The Rumpus)

Randy Boyagoda on J Michael Lennon’s Norman Mailer: A Double Life: “The subtitle “A Double Life” serves as Lennon’s governing premise for exploring how Mailer’s personal life mattered to his writing life and vice versa, but he does far more than merely affirm this abundantly obvious, abundantly volatile relationship.” (Financial Times)

Ursula Le Guin on Delphine de Vigan’s Nothing Holds Back the Night: “I don’t think it is a novel, but I respect the author’s honesty in not calling it a memoir. The first part of it, the portrait and history of a family, combines apparently factual accounts drawn from interviews and other sources, with long passages of fiction: inventions by the author-character – descriptions of scenes she did not witness, thoughts she imagines in the minds of people alive before she was born.” (The Guardian)

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