Christopher Isherwood, The Berlin Stories

The Berlin Stories: The Last of Mr. Norris & Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood My rating: 4 of 5 stars The Berlin Stories collects Christopher Isherwood's two novels of the 1930s set in Weimar Germany, The Last of Mr. Norris (1935), published in England under the superior title Mr. Norris Changes Trains, and the … Continue reading Christopher Isherwood, The Berlin Stories

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

William Faulkner, Go Down, Moses

Go Down, Moses by William Faulkner My rating: 4 of 5 stars Go Down, Moses (1942), though not always grouped with Faulkner's indisputable masterpieces, is nevertheless one of his most significant and influential books. On strictly formalist or literary-historical grounds, it is a beautiful example of the short story collection as novel, an idea that … Continue reading William Faulkner, Go Down, Moses

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

Philip Roth, Goodbye, Columbus

Goodbye, Columbus and Five Short Stories by Philip Roth My rating: 5 of 5 stars She walked away and around the oak tree. When she appeared again she'd stepped out of her shoes and held one hand on the tree, as though it were a Maypole she were circling. —Philip Roth, Goodbye, Columbus (1959) Just … Continue reading Philip Roth, Goodbye, Columbus

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 book by I don't recall which author—to the idea of a real novelist, as opposed to a novelist whose primary interests are moral or ideological … Continue reading Louise Erdrich, Love Medicine

Herman Melville, The Paradise of Bachelors and the Tartarus of Maids

The Paradise of Bachelors and The Tartarus of Maids by Herman Melville My rating: 5 of 5 stars After re-reading Moby-Dick, I decided to revisit this remarkable short story (or diptych of sketches) as well. Originally published in Harper's in 1855, it is one of Melville's lesser-known works, not included in his 1856 collection The … Continue reading Herman Melville, The Paradise of Bachelors and the Tartarus of Maids

Published: “White Girl”

My short story, "White Girl," which I had thought too controversial to be published even before it took on a new and ghastly relevance this summer, appears in the first issue of the brand-new (and especially beautiful) Amaranth Review. You can read the inaugural issue in its entirety here; my story starts on page 70. Its … Continue reading Published: “White Girl”

Yukio Mishima, Patriotism

Patriotism by Yukio Mishima My rating: 5 of 5 stars One of the twentieth century's most renowned stories or novellas, Mishima's Patriotism of 1960 narrates the ritual suicide of Lieutenant Takeyama and his wife Reiko following a mutiny in the Japanese Imperial Army in 1936. The lieutenant's friends are the rebellion's leaders, though they have … Continue reading Yukio Mishima, Patriotism

Marie NDiaye, All My Friends

All My Friends by Marie NDiaye My rating: 5 of 5 stars [With Marie NDiaye's Ladivine all the rage and some claiming that the French author is about to have a Ferrante-like breakthrough in the U.S., I thought I would post here my 2013 review of NDiaye's story collection, All My Friends; it also considers her … Continue reading Marie NDiaye, All My Friends