John Pistelli

writer

Against Celebration: Bloomsday vs. Dallowayday

Two years ago, Elaine Showalter suggested that we balance Bloomsday (June 16, the day whereon Joyce’s Ulysses is set) with Dallowayday: Like Joyce’s Ulysses, Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway is set … Continue reading

16 June 2018 · Leave a comment

Ernest Hemingway, The Snows of Kilimanjaro and Other Stories

Snows of Kilimanjaro and Other Stories by Ernest Hemingway My rating: 3 of 5 stars Hemingway used to be overrated and is now if anything underrated. Once venerated for promoting … Continue reading

13 June 2018 · Leave a comment

Hart Crane, The Bridge

The Bridge by Hart Crane My rating: 4 of 5 stars The Bridge (1930) is a long poem seven years in the making. It was written under several varieties of … Continue reading

11 May 2018 · Leave a comment

Anna Kavan, Ice

Ice by Anna Kavan My rating: 4 of 5 stars Jonathan Lethem begins his introduction to the new Penguin Classics edition of this 1967 novel, “Anna Kavan’s Ice is a … Continue reading

12 March 2018 · Leave a comment

Jack Kerouac, On the Road

On the Road by Jack Kerouac My rating: 3 of 5 stars You will say, “You should have read this book when you were sixteen!” Reader, I wouldn’t have liked … Continue reading

10 January 2018 · 4 Comments

Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita

The Annotated Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov My rating: 4 of 5 stars Lolita, if you don’t know, is a novel cast in the form of a murderer’s confession. The self-named … Continue reading

19 November 2017 · 2 Comments

Toni Morrison, Paradise

Paradise by Toni Morrison My rating: 5 of 5 stars Paradise was not well received upon its publication in 1997—influential critics like Michiko Kakutani, James Wood, and Zoë Heller disparaged … Continue reading

10 November 2017 · 6 Comments

Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf My rating: 5 of 5 stars Few novels have been as ill-served by their canonization as Mrs. Dalloway has. Assimilated to the classic tradition of … Continue reading

25 October 2017 · 4 Comments

Nella Larsen, Quicksand

Quicksand by Nella Larsen My rating: 5 of 5 stars This rigorously ironic 1928 novel of the Harlem Renaissance (its author’s first) has itself, in its afterlife, succumbed to an … Continue reading

16 September 2017 · 3 Comments

Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow

Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon My rating: 4 of 5 stars Moby-Dick—an epic, mock-epic, and Great American Novel—is supposed to be a difficult book, and it is. Its gigantism burst … Continue reading

29 August 2017 · 3 Comments