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

José Revueltas, The Hole

The Hole by José Revueltas My rating: 3 of 5 stars The Hole was written in Mexico City's Lecumberri Penitentiary in 1969 and published the same year; a classic of Latin American literature, one that Valeria Luiselli claims on the back cover has informed the works of Bolaño and Aira, the novella appears for the … Continue reading José Revueltas, The Hole

Raymond Carver, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love

What We Talk About When We Talk About Love: Stories by Raymond Carver My rating: 4 of 5 stars A character in this iconic collection's final story thinks of her daughter's truancy as "another tragedy in a long line of low-rent tragedies." This 1981 book, which perhaps more than any other made its author's name … Continue reading Raymond Carver, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love

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 a code of restrained masculine heroism forged in war, he is now execrated by the ideologists of "toxic masculinity." Neither variant of gender politics, however, … Continue reading Ernest Hemingway, The Snows of Kilimanjaro and Other Stories

Herman Melville, Benito Cereno

Melville's Short Novels: Authoritative Texts, Contexts, Criticism by Herman Melville My rating: 5 of 5 stars Benito Cereno is one of the post-Pierre short works of the 1850s by which Melville hoped to right the ship of his literary career. A novella of slavery, based on a true story, it is both an effective work of … Continue reading Herman Melville, Benito Cereno

Nathanael West, Miss Lonelyhearts and The Day of the Locust

Miss Lonelyhearts / The Day of the Locust by Nathanael West My rating: 5 of 5 stars Nathanael West's 1933 novella, Miss Lonelyhearts, has passionate defenders. Harold Bloom declares it his favorite modern novel; in his chapter on it in How to Read and Why, he notes that Flannery O'Connor's own two favorite modern novels, … Continue reading Nathanael West, Miss Lonelyhearts and The Day of the Locust

Cynthia Ozick, The Shawl

The Shawl by Cynthia Ozick My rating: 5 of 5 stars Perhaps Cynthia Ozick's most famous book, this 1989 collection of two linked short stories about the Holocaust and its long aftermath is a triumphantly involuted and gorgeously self-lacerating traversal back and forth between the author's mutually incompatible commitments—her iconoclasm, her zeal to smash whatever … Continue reading Cynthia Ozick, The Shawl

Published: “Sweet Angry God”

Please click here for a free pdf of my latest short story, published in the December issue of Writing Raw (and check out the rest of the issue!). Writing Raw prefaces each story with a brief description; here is their teaser for mine: When her sister announces that is absconding with a dubious man attracted … Continue reading Published: “Sweet Angry God”

Henry James, The Beast in the Jungle and Other Stories

The Beast in the Jungle and Other Stories by Henry James My rating: 5 of 5 stars I took up this volume as Halloween approached and I realized I had never read James’s second most famous ghost story, “The Jolly Corner.” (I love James, but his most famous ghost story, the novella The Turn of … Continue reading Henry James, The Beast in the Jungle and Other Stories