Philip Roth, The Ghost Writer

The Ghost Writer by Philip Roth My rating: 5 of 5 stars The Ghost Writer is the good Roth, the safe Roth, wholesome enough to give to children and kittens and ducklings, hence, perhaps, its appearance on my syllabus this semester. (The guy who taught the class before me went straight to Portnoy's Complaint, but … Continue reading Philip Roth, The Ghost Writer

Cynthia Ozick, The Shawl

The Shawl by Cynthia Ozick My rating: 5 of 5 stars Perhaps Cynthia Ozick's most famous book, this 1989 collection of two linked short stories about the Holocaust and its long aftermath is a triumphantly involuted and gorgeously self-lacerating traversal back and forth between the author's mutually incompatible commitments—her iconoclasm, her zeal to smash whatever … Continue reading Cynthia Ozick, The Shawl

Cynthia Ozick, Heir to the Glimmering World

Heir to the Glimmering World by Cynthia Ozick My rating: 5 of 5 stars {Spoilers abound below. This is a novel as profound as those of its sources—Austen, Dickens, Eliot, James—it cannot be spoiled by a mere recitation of its events. It must be read.} This 2004 novel has not received its due. It seems … Continue reading Cynthia Ozick, Heir to the Glimmering World

Cynthia Ozick, The Puttermesser Papers

The Puttermesser Papers by Cynthia Ozick My rating: 5 of 5 stars [Spoilers below, not that a book of this tough intellectual fiber can be spoiled by the mere discussion of narrative events.] I decided to start reading Ozick in earnest—and see my review of her last essay collection here—because of her piece on the … Continue reading Cynthia Ozick, The Puttermesser Papers

Cynthia Ozick, The Din in the Head

The Din in the Head by Cynthia Ozick My rating: 3 of 5 stars This 2006 essay collection begins with an appreciation of Susan Sontag, who had died in 2004. Ozick retells Sontag's intellectual biography, from avant-garde champion of the counterculture in the 1960s to defender of traditional high culture in the 1990s. And while … Continue reading Cynthia Ozick, The Din in the Head