Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Marble Faun

The Marble Faun by Nathaniel Hawthorne My rating: 4 of 5 stars The Marble Faun (1860) is Hawthorne's last completed and longest romance—his term for the type of non-realist, symbolic, and psychological fiction he preferred to write. Composed during and after his and his family's travels in Europe following his political patronage appointment as American consul … Continue reading Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Marble Faun

Bernard Malamud, The Assistant

The Assistant by Bernard Malamud My rating: 5 of 5 stars The Assistant (1957) is Bernard Malamud's second novel. Frank Alpine, its eponymous anti-hero, becomes a clerk in the failing Brooklyn grocery store of Morris Bober after Bober is robbed and assaulted. The Italian-American orphan and drifter Alpine slowly intricates himself into the ways and … Continue reading Bernard Malamud, The Assistant

Marilynne Robinson, Gilead

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson My rating: 3 of 5 stars I found Marilynne Robinson's second novel, Gilead (2004), to be literally stunning. That is, every time I picked it up to read a few pages I would become dazed with boredom or would even fall asleep, knocked out by the novel's descriptive vagueness and tonal … Continue reading Marilynne Robinson, Gilead

Wallace Stevens, Harmonium

Harmonium by Wallace Stevens My rating: 5 of 5 stars I have long had an interest in Wallace Stevens but have never read him with any disciplined attention. To correct this, I read Stevens's landmark first book, Harmonium (1923), in a library copy of the Goodreads edition pictured above, along with the selections from it … Continue reading Wallace Stevens, Harmonium

J. M. Coetzee, The Schooldays of Jesus

The Schooldays of Jesus by J.M. Coetzee My rating: 4 of 5 stars This sequel to Coetzee's The Childhood of Jesus (2013) provides further adventures of Davíd, Simón, and Inés in an ambiguous dream-like setting. The first novel tells of characters who arrive from over the sea to a mysterious socialist society called Novilla; Simón, … Continue reading J. M. Coetzee, The Schooldays of Jesus

Flannery O’Connor, Wise Blood

Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor My rating: 4 of 5 stars It's considered an absolute necessity these days for writers to have compassion. Compassion is a word that sounds good in anybody's mouth and which no book jacket can do without. It is a quality which no one can put his finger on in any … Continue reading Flannery O’Connor, Wise Blood

Ozick, Said, Bloom: Religion, Politics, Literature

{This is a long appendix to my review of Cynthia Ozick’s Heir to the Glimmering World. It will not make much sense unless you read that first.} 1. Ozick Against Revolution There is a paradox here in reading Jane Austen which I have been impressed by but can in no way resolve. All the evidence says … Continue reading Ozick, Said, Bloom: Religion, Politics, Literature