John Pistelli


Stephen Crane, Maggie: A Girl of the Streets

Maggie: A Girl of the Streets by Stephen Crane My rating: 4 of 5 stars A man said to the universe: “Sir, I exist!” “However,” replied the universe, “The fact … Continue reading

23 September 2018 · 1 Comment

Sarah Orne Jewett, The Country of the Pointed Firs

The Country of the Pointed Firs by Sarah Orne Jewett My rating: 4 of 5 stars One recurring theme of my reviews is that classic literary works often defy or … Continue reading

17 September 2018 · 1 Comment

Jens Peter Jacobsen, Niels Lyhne

Niels Lyhne by Jens Peter Jacobsen My rating: 4 of 5 stars This 1880 Danish novel was once immensely influential: it and its author were cited or praised by Hermann … Continue reading

11 September 2018 · 2 Comments

Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro My rating: 5 of 5 stars Never Let Me Go is a contemporary realist novel about a friendship and eventual love triangle among … Continue reading

6 December 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 · 5 Comments

Louise Erdrich, Love Medicine

Love Medicine: Deluxe Modern Classic by Louise Erdrich My rating: 4 of 5 stars Browsing in a library the other day, I came upon a reference—in I don’t recall which … Continue reading

14 May 2017 · Leave a comment

Georg Lukács, The Meaning of Contemporary Realism

The Meaning of Contemporary Realism by Georg Lukács My rating: 2 of 5 stars I have always been attracted to the idea that art was more than about taste. Tabooed … Continue reading

10 May 2017 · 3 Comments

Henry James, Hawthorne

Hawthorne by Henry James My rating: 5 of 5 stars This short 1879 book is Henry James’s critical biography of the man who would at the time have been considered … Continue reading

8 April 2017 · 2 Comments

Henrik Ibsen, The Master Builder

The Master Builder by Henrik Ibsen My rating: 5 of 5 stars In my understanding of Ibsen’s career, The Master Builder (1892) belongs to the end of his realist period, … Continue reading

5 January 2017 · Leave a comment

Is David Mitchell the William Faulkner of the Twenty-First Century?

Clickbait title, I know, but please bear with me. I think I’m onto something; call it— An Essay on Fiction and Reality, Eternity and Time In the mid-1970s, Hugh Kenner wrote … Continue reading

15 August 2016 · Leave a comment