John Pistelli

writer

Jason Lutes, Berlin

Berlin by Jason Lutes My rating: 3 of 5 stars For readers and writers of contemporary fiction, history can play the role that myth once did. Just as Sophocles’s audience … Continue reading

12 February 2019 · Leave a comment

Christopher Isherwood, The Berlin Stories

The Berlin Stories: The Last of Mr. Norris & Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood My rating: 4 of 5 stars The Berlin Stories collects Christopher Isherwood’s two novels of … Continue reading

31 January 2019 · 1 Comment

Alfred Döblin, Berlin Alexanderplatz

Berlin Alexanderplatz by Alfred Döblin My rating: 4 of 5 stars Let’s get the literary-historical info and honorifics out of the way first: Berlin Alexanderplatz is one of the monuments … Continue reading

19 January 2019 · 1 Comment

Thomas Mann, Doctor Faustus

Doctor Faustus by Thomas Mann My rating: 5 of 5 stars Far out to sea the water’s as blue as the petals of the loveliest cornflower, and as clear as … Continue reading

12 January 2019 · Leave a comment

My Year in Books, 2018

Looking back, I see that I did a lot of rereading in 2018. Some of it was out of necessity (teaching), and some for pleasure. Some of it showed up … Continue reading

31 December 2018 · Leave a comment

Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut My rating: 2 of 5 stars But was I wrong, in “In Praise of Semicolons,” to be so severe in my judgment of Kurt Vonnegut, to … Continue reading

30 December 2018 · 1 Comment

Anna Burns, Milkman

Milkman by Anna Burns My rating: 5 of 5 stars “I did not like twentieth century books because I did not like the twentieth century,” says the narrator of Anna … Continue reading

15 December 2018 · 1 Comment

Raymond Carver, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love

What We Talk About When We Talk About Love: Stories by Raymond Carver My rating: 4 of 5 stars A character in this iconic collection’s final story thinks of her … Continue reading

6 December 2018 · 1 Comment

Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto

The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole My rating: 3 of 5 stars Published pseudonymously in 1764 by an English politician, The Castle of Otranto is usually praised as the … Continue reading

10 October 2018 · 1 Comment

Jenny Offill, Dept. of Speculation

Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill My rating: 3 of 5 stars This acclaimed 2014 novel of marriage, motherhood, and adultery is a perfect expression of the fictional and even … Continue reading

30 September 2018 · 1 Comment