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J. C. Hallman

J.C. Hallman’s most recent book is SAY ANARCHA: A Young Woman, a Devious Surgeon, and the Harrowing Birth of Modern Women’s Health.

How to Browse

It’s practically taboo these days to say aloud, or even whisper, what we all know to be true: reading is hard. And it’s not just genre enthusiasts or publishers with dollar signs in their eyes who would make the case for fiction as easy entertainment instead. You don’t have to look far at all to find writers, even highbrow authors, who trumpet the cause of fun reading.

A Portrait of the Critic as a Miraculating Agent

There’s no author’s note in David Winters’s collection of reviews, Infinite Fictions: Essays on Literature and Theory, and, actually, it’s pretty difficult to find out anything about Winters apart from the quick squib on the back of the book: he’s a Cambridge–based literary critic, and a co-editor-in-chief of 3:AM Magazine.

Worry and the Mordant Wallow

Daniel Borzutzky’s new book of poems, The Performance of Becoming Human (the latest from indefatigable Brooklyn Arts Press, soldiering on for nearly a decade now) can be quoted so as to suggest that it is merely the latest in a recent string of literary apocalypses, all of imaginative provenance (storm, zombies, aliens, meteors, plague, etc.), but all relying on the sadly pessimistic belief that we’re basically fucked.

In Conversation

Betsy Prioleau with J.C. Hallman

Diamonds and Deadlines is gloriously hard to describe. Ostensibly, it is a biography of the most influential woman you’ve never heard of, Miriam Leslie. However, the application of any particular moniker to Miriam’s remarkable—and sometimes checkered—career is to overlook critical facets of her life.

In Conversation

Ander Monson with J.C. Hallman

And now, as though to spit in the eye of every film critic to publish a word in the New York Times or The New Yorker, Ander Monson offers a book-length close read of John McTiernan’s Predator (1987).

In Conversation

Ted Conover with J.C. Hallman

Author Ted Conover and Rail Contributor J.C. Hallman discuss Conover's new book, Cheap Land Colorado: Off-Gridders At America's Edge.

In Conversation

Brendan Shay Basham with J.C. Hallman

I have a theory: every writer, at some point early in their careers, must produce something that amounts to a personal creation myth—the story of how someone like them came to be. This applies equally to, say, John Updike’s short story “A & P” and Marilynne Robinson’s novel Housekeeping. It’s particularly true of Brendan Shay Basham’s multivalent debut, Swim Home to the Vanished.

A Poet is a Mood

Generally speaking, poems are monolingual. That is, what a poem has to say is generally held to be specific enough to be fixed to a singular language event.

Enlarging the Perception of Beauty

A review of a book of reviews probably can't avoid exhibiting, in the end, the weird quality that years ago used to get called po-mo or meta—which means, sort of, that it is destined to become a review about reviews, a review about itself.

An Epic Poem for Queens, NY: Carolyn Ferrell’s Dear Miss Metropolitan

In breadth and skill, insight and innovation, Dear Miss Metropolitan takes its place alongside Roberto Bolaño’s 2666 among the most profound works of literature to have emerged from crimes so horrific they became international sensations. Years in the making, emerging from a mind transformed by decades in a chrysalis, the book leaves one heaving a glorious sigh, feeling that it was well worth the wait, and harboring a secret hope that the next cocoon will crack more quickly.

How to be Good, and Win Anyway
Bryan Cranston Goes All The Way

“Half the people here are probably here because of Breaking Bad,” the woman next to me said, as the Neil Simon Theatre filled in and we waited for the start of a matinee showing of All the Way, written by a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and directed by a man whose productions, last season, won both inaugural Edward H. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History awards.


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2023

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