Jerzy Kosinski, The Painted Bird

The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosiński My rating: 3 of 5 stars This 1965 novel is a text so overwhelmed by its various contexts that it is almost impossible to read. It was still ubiquitous as a semi-illicit paperback when I was a child in the late 1980s and early 1990s, reputed to be an … Continue reading Jerzy Kosinski, The Painted Bird

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

D. M. Thomas, The White Hotel

The White Hotel by D.M. Thomas My rating: 5 of 5 stars But he would have us remember most of all To be enthusiastic over the night Not only for the sense of wonder It alone has to offer, but also Because it needs our love: for with sad eyes Its delectable creatures look up … Continue reading D. M. Thomas, The White Hotel

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

Art Spiegelman, Maus

The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman My rating: 5 of 5 stars Our life happens to be such that a child, as soon as it can run about a little and a little distinguish one thing from another, must look after itself just like an adult; the areas on which, for economic reasons, we have … Continue reading Art Spiegelman, Maus