John Pistelli


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 · Leave a comment

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 · 5 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 · 2 Comments

Vladimir Nabokov, The Enchanter

The Enchanter by Vladimir Nabokov My rating: 3 of 5 stars VN’s first pass at the Lolita subject matter, The Enchanter was written in 1939—making it one of the author’s … Continue reading

16 July 2017 · Leave a comment

Juan Rulfo, Pedro Páramo

Pedro Páramo by Juan Rulfo My rating: 5 of 5 stars It sometimes seems as if great novels—where “great” implies success at the historico-political task of summing an epoch or … Continue reading

12 July 2017 · 1 Comment

Grant Morrison, Doom Patrol

The Doom Patrol Omnibus by Grant Morrison My rating: 3 of 5 stars In my review of Boris Groys’s In the Flow, I somehow failed to note the thesis in … Continue reading

7 July 2017 · 2 Comments