Machado de Assis, The Alienist

The Alienist by Machado de Assis My rating: 4 of 5 stars We could learn a lot, both about life and literature, from this 1882 novella by the Brazilian writer Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis. Machado is only now becoming prominent in the Anglophone world with Liveright's publication last year of his collected short stories … Continue reading Machado de Assis, The Alienist

Tom Wolfe, Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers

Radical Chic & Mau Mauing The Flak Catchers by Tom Wolfe My rating: 3 of 5 stars It's a tiny bit arrogant of people to go around worrying about those less fortunate. —Whit Stillman, Metropolitan Stop me if you've heard this one before: it is a year or two into a conservative presidential administration—one that … Continue reading Tom Wolfe, Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers

Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood My rating: 3 of 5 stars Some books are so famous, so ubiquitous in the culture, that you feel you have read them well before you ever read them. You feel, in fact, that you don't need to read them. This is what kept me from reading The Handmaid's … Continue reading Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

Alejandro Jodorowsky and Moebius, The Incal

The Incal by Alejandro Jodorowsky and Moebius My rating: 4 of 5 stars This classic 1980s science fiction graphic novel is the tale of John DiFool (i.e., the fool of the Tarot, representing humanity's freedom and stupidity). DiFool journeys to save the cosmos in the company of his sometime lover Animah (i.e., his Jungian anima, … Continue reading Alejandro Jodorowsky and Moebius, The Incal

Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley My rating: 2 of 5 stars Don't ask me why I didn't read Brave New World when I was sixteen the way everybody else did—the powers-that-be never assigned it to me in school, and I'm only now catching up to it on my own. I should have read it … Continue reading Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

Michel Houellebecq, Submission

Submission by Michel Houellebecq My rating: 4 of 5 stars After Les Fleurs du mal I told Baudelaire it only remains for you to choose between the muzzle of the pistol and the foot of the Cross. But will the author of À rebours make the same choice? —Barbey d’Aurevilly You probably know this novel’s … Continue reading Michel Houellebecq, Submission

Thomas Carlyle, Sartor Resartus

Sartor Resartus by Thomas Carlyle My rating: 5 of 5 stars What does the Latin title of this novel mean? The Tailor Retailored. Who is the tailor? Humanity, or, in the old style, Man. Why is he not only a tailor, but a retailored tailor? Because Man is a spiritual being that can recreate himself … Continue reading Thomas Carlyle, Sartor Resartus