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The Chase Goes On

Thank You for Your Service, David Finkel’s account of returning Afghanistan and Iraq War vets suffering from PTSD, has a surprisingly literary quality.

Landscape With Yellow Birds: The Selected Poems of José Ángel Valente

Among the postwar Spanish poets, arguably the most notable was José Ángel Valente, 1929 – 2000, a selection of whose poems has been published this year by Archipelago Press in a handsome bilingual edition titled Landscape with Yellow Birds.

The Worst Story Ever Told

In August 2010, Harper’s Magazine published a story by Tom Bissell about a very bad movie that had become something of a phenomenon at midnight screenings in Los Angeles.

Sibum in Nighttown

The Traymore Rooms, a novel at once hugely ambitious and never above an off-color crack, aspires to be the late triumph of a long career.

Tallying a Life

Can we ever really leave the past behind? While writer and English professor Douglas Bauer may have left his home state of Iowa when he moved out east, where he teaches, he never really left the small farm town where he grew up.

Maternity Mythos

In the past few years, many women writers, myself included, have written books about the ambivalence or the disjuncture of becoming a mother—perhaps a literary tradition hearkening back to Sappho’s ministrations to her students.

All Too Human

I’m a fan of talking animals. Not the benign Mr. Eds of the world, but more like the monkeys and mice of Kafka, the goldfish of Etgar Keret’s dark and magical “What, of This Goldfish, Would You Wish?” and the super sunny piglet of Babe (both movies) (seriously). What I mean to say here is the animal represented in possession of a complex human consciousness is about as uncanny as it gets—as familiar, as it is alien—and when done especially well can deepen our understanding of humanity.

The Sum of Things

Where there is love, life becomes something of it. And where there is death, or a loss of love, life takes on something of that, too. Levels of Life advances by this equivocal alchemy: “You put together two things that have not been put together before,” writes Julian Barnes. “And the world is changed.”

Bryson, Inc

Bill Bryson is a great renderer: he can take you anywhere in time—or space, for that matter, as he proved in his seminal 2003 work, A Short History of Nearly Everything.


The Brooklyn Rail

OCT 2013

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