Sunday, November 4, 2001
SUNDAY BOOK REVIEW
Mysteries and Revelations
By JANE CIABATTARI
By Alice Munro
Alfred A. Knopf: 320 pp.,
Canadian writer Alice Munro's masterful 10th
collection of stories,"Hateship, Friendship,
Courtship, Loveship,Marriage," proves again that
she is a writer to cherish. Munro, who turned 70 this
year, has throughout her career focused on a
particular region—rural southwestern Ontario—as
well as on the cities of Vancouver and Toronto. Her world is not very different from any small town or village with farmland,lakes and rivers, shady streets and big brick houses,insular rules and rituals. "Who Do You Think You Are?," her 1978 collection, is a universal subtext: Every community watches and listens, gossips and passes judgment.
Over the years since her first collection, "Dance of the Happy Shades," was published in 1968, the sheer spaciousness of Munro's storytelling, her gift for surprising us with the truth about ourselves, has transcended national boundaries and the limits of regionalism. Which is why we have come to embrace her as a major author writing in English on the strength of her short fiction.
In the nine stories in her new collection, Munro works a rich new vein of retrospection, following the meandering stream of memory as it flows to and fro,revealing long-buried nuggets and unexpected gaps,reversals and corrections. The unwieldy title of the collection comes from a girlhood game in which you write a boy's name and your own, cross out the duplicated letters, count the remaining ones and tick them off on your fingers to find out how you two will fare: Hateship, friendship, courtship, loveship,marriage. Munro considers all of these permutations and then some in these stories of the relationships of women to men, to their younger selves and to the vibrant web of the community.
Characteristically, Munro's stories start abruptly, in plain, even blunt language, build momentum, then plunge into unexpected territory. "Nina had been playing tennis in the late afternoon, on the high school courts," she writes in the opening lines of "Comfort." Nina heads home after winning the game to discover that her husband, who is suffering from Lou Gehrig's disease, has committed suicide. The year before, he had been forced out of his job teaching high school science in a dispute with students and parents who wanted him to give equal time to creationism.The murky ripples of this small-town controversy spill over as Nina decides how to mark his passing.Her final decision is both complicated and facilitated by the undertaker, with whom she once had a mild flirtation.
"What is it really that you do?" she asks him at one point. With great delicacy, he offers her details of the embalming process.By the time the story ends, Munro has touched upon most of the questions we face when faced with death.
In "The Bear Came Over the Mountain," Fiona is 70 and losing her memory. Her philandering husband
finds a home where she can be taken care of butis
told he must not visit for 30 days, at which point he
gets his comeuppance. And yet, Munro leaves us
pondering the unexpected pull of his love for Fiona.
"Queenie," the least satisfying story in an otherwise superb collection, shows an older stepsister, Queenie,through the eyes of Chrissy, a country girl who goes to visit her in Toronto, hoping to find a life of romance and glamour. Instead, Queenie runs off, leaving her husband for another man, and Chrissy never sees her again. The ending—after Chrissy's children are grown,her husband retired and after she has odd glimpses of a woman she thinks is Queenie—seems slight in comparison to the full-fleshed richness of the other stories.
The most astonishing story, "Family Furnishings," begins simply. "Alfrida. My father called her Freddy. The two of them were first cousins .... One day they were out in the fields of stubble playing with my father's dog .... " Suddenly they heard bells pealing and whistles blowing, signaling the end of World War I:"The world had burst its seams for joy."
The narrator tells the story of Alfrida, the career woman with "zing" who writes for the local
newspaper's women's page and treats her to her first
"ciggie-boo." Alfrida takes up with a married man and
moves to the city. The narrator ends up in college
there, and Alfrida has her to lunch—a heavy meal of
meat and vegetables "like Sunday dinners at home."
Alfrida tells a family anecdote about how her mother had died of burns she got when a lamp
exploded in her hands. Alfrida was kept from her
bedside, told she wouldn't want to remember her this
way. "But you know what I said? ... I said, 'She
would want to see me.'" The narrator takes note—this
is a part of the familiar story she had never heard—and
later writes a story about the incident. Years later, at her father's funeral, the narrator meets a woman who
tells her she is Alfrida's daughter, given up at birth.
This woman also knows the anecdote about Alfrida's day in the fields at the momentous end of the war. Alfrida's daughter's revelations are startling, if not
surprising. More shocking is how well she knows the
narrator. "[Alfrida] said you were smart, but you
weren't ever quite as smart as you thought you were,"
So that's what this story is about, you think. The family secret she had missed through all the years. But no. The story turns back on itself and Munro gives us an ending that takes the breath away. The narrator remembers the hours after her lunch years before with Alfrida. The narrator leaves Alfrida's apartment early,saying she has to meet friends. But she is really headed off for a long walk and a cup of coffee in delicious solitude.
"Such happiness, to be alone .... To hear from the back of the shop the sounds of the ballgame that the man who had served me was listening to on the radio.I did not think of the story I would make about
Alfrida—not of that in particular—but of the work I
wanted to do, which seemed more like grabbing
something out of the air than constructing stories. The
cries of the crowd came to me like big heartbeats full
of sorrows .... This was what I wanted, this was what I
thought I had to pay attention to, this was how I
wanted my life to be."
What is this story about? The personal
consequences of a shattering historic moment, the
stubborn nature of secrecy and shame, the ruthlessness
of the writer who uses private information as raw
material for her art. The ironic gentleness of the older self's relationship to the younger, the possibilities for continual revelation within the human condition, the mysteries of how a story works, the sheer deep and subtle joy of Munro's life work.
This work encompasses more than a century of social upheaval—two world wars, the Great Depression, the fluctuations of the gender wars. Over
the years Munro has absorbed the Zeitgeist and
worked it with her own alchemy. Even some of her
earliest stories are as fresh as if written yesterday.
(Take a story she wrote in the 1950s, among those she
has said she considered "exercise stories ... the work
of a beginning writer." "An Ounce of Cure" is the wry
tale of a teenage girl's first experience with alcohol.
While baby-sitting, she slugs down two glassfuls of
whiskey; later she remembers "lying on the bathroom
floor looking sideways at the little six-sided white tiles, ... seeing them with the brief broken gratitude and sanity of one who has just been torn to pieces with
vomiting." The details are precise, hilarious.)
Munro has avoided literary fads and followed her own circuitous path, capturing the nuances of ordinary lives with naturalistic grace. Her observations are as acute as the photographic mages of Dorothea Lange and Walker Evans. Her stories will be as enduring.
* * *
Jane Ciabattari is the author of the forthcoming
short story collection, "Stealing the Fire," and a
contributing editor to Parade magazine.
"A Troubled Iraq War Vet Goes Home in Roxana Robinson's 'Sparta,'" Interview in The Daily Beast, June 3, 2013.
Review of Janet Frame's "Between My Father and the King," The Boston Globe, May 26, 2013.
"Three Must-read Story Collections," reviews of Rebecca Lee's "Bobcats," Lily Tuck's "The House at Belle Fontaine," and Janet Frame's "Between My Father and the King," The Daily Beast, May 24, 2013.
Review of Claire Messud's novel "The Woman Upstairs," NPR.org, April 25, 2013.
"Endless Summer: Meg Wolitzer talks about her novel 'The Interestings,'" The Daily Beast, April 16, 2013.
"'Last Friends'by Jane Gardam reviewed in The Boston Globe, April 6, 2013.
"The Devil and Woodrow Wilson," interview with Joyce Carol Oates about her novel "The Accursed," March 19, 2013, The Daily Beast.
"Tender Portraits of Worn-Down Women in 'This Close.'" Review of Jessica Francis Kane's second story collection, NPR.org, March 14, 2013.
"The Woman Behind Dorothea Lange's 'Migrant Mother'." Interview with Marisa Silver re her novel, "Mary Coin," The Daily Beast, March 11, 2013.
Review of Jamaica Kincaid's novel "See Now Then," The Boston Globe, February 16, 2013.
Interview with Tracy Chevalier re her novel, "The Last Runaway," The Daily Beast, January 17, 2013.
Review of George Saunders' story collection, "Tenth of December," the Boston Globe, January 13, 2013.
Review of "The Twelve Tribes of Hattie" by Ayana Mathis, Oprah pick, for San Francisco Chronicle, January 6, 2013.
NPR "Weekend Edition" commentary on Luis Jaramillo's "The Doctor's Wife," one of my top 5 short story collections of 2012, December 29, 2012.
"Short Stories to Savor on a Winter Weekend," end-of-year best short story collections of 2012, NPR.org, November 26, 2012.
Alice Munro's "Dear Life," reviewed for The Boston Globe, November 16, 2012.
"Richard Russo Talks about Memoir 'Elsewhere' and His Mother's Illness," The Daily Beast, November 12, 2012.
Review of Barbara Kingsolver's "Flight Behavior," San Francisco Chronicle, November 11, 2012.
"Confessions of a Blasphemer: Sherman Alexie on Blasphemy, his stand up comedy career, and 5 surprising facts about Indians." Interview with Sherman Alexie, The Daily Beast, October 17, 2012.
Review of Louise Erdrich's "The Round House," The Boston Globe, October 6, 2012.
"A.M. Homes' Cain and Abel," interview with A.M. Homes re her novel, "May We Be Forgiven," The Daily Beast, September 29, 2012.
"A lyrical portrait of life and death in the orchard," review of "The Orchardist," Amanda Coplin, for NPR.org, August 23, 2012.
"The devil is in the details," review of Victor LaValle's "The Devil in Silver," the Boston Globe, August 19, 2012.
"A Broken Family Navigates "The World Without You," review of Joshua Henkin Novel, NPR.org, June 27, 2012.
"Inside" and "Signs and Wonders," two books by Alix Ohlin,review in The Boston Globe, June 10, 2012.
"'The Newlyweds' gives uncanny take on immigrant dream,'" review of Nell Freudenberger's 'The Newlyweds,' the Los Angeles Times, June 3, 2012.
Interview with Richard Ford on his new novel "Canada," The Daily Beast, May 31, 2012.
"The evocative power of possessions,"review of Dawn Raffel's memoir "The Secret Life of Objects" for The Chicago Tribune's Printer's Row, May 31, 2012.
"Contents of House," short story in Long Island Noir, edited by Kaylie Jones, Akashic Books, May 2013.
Interview with Kathryn Harrison re Rasputin and her new novel, "Enchantments," The Daily Beast, March 29, 2012.
Review of "The Vanishers" by Heidi Julavits, The Boston Globe, March 25, 2012.
"Madeline Miller Discusses 'The Song of Achilles,'" interview with first novelist longlisted for the Orange Prize, The Daily Beast, March 21, 2012.
"Contents May Have Shifted," review of Pam Houston's new novel of that name, Boston Globe, February 26, 2012.
"Nathan Englander Talks About His New Story Collection, Philip Roth, Twitter, and More," Interview with Nathan Englander re "What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank," The Daily Beast, February 25, 2012.
"As It Was in the Beginning," review of Ramona Ausubel's first novel, "No One Is Here Except All of Us," The New York Times Book Review, February 5, 2012.
"How It All Began," review of Penelope Lively novel in the Boston Globe, January 15, 2012.
My "Best 10 fiction of 2011" list, The Boston Globe, December 18, 2011 (with critics John Freeman and Meredith Maran), highlighting Dana Spiotta's "Stone Arabia."
"Favorite Books by Newsweek/Daily Beast Writers," Lev Grossman, "The Magician King," Julie Otsuka, "The Buddha in the Attic," and Elissa Schappell, "Blueprint for Building Better Girls," The Daily Beast, December 11, 2012
"The Chain Smoker in the Closet," Interview with Ann Beattie, author of "Mrs. Nixon," The Daily Beast, November 6, 2011.
Review of Ha Jin's novel, "Nanjing Requiem," The Boston Globe, November 6, 2011.
Review of Lily Tuck's novel "I Married You for Happiness," The Daily Beast, October 3, 2011.
"Tragedy of the Picture Brides," Interview with Julie Otsuka, The Daily Beast, September 16, 2011.
Review of "The Buddha in the Attic" by Julie Otsuka, The San Francisco Chronicle, August 28, 2011.
"Back from the Dead: The State of Book Reviews," 4,000 word piece in Poets and Writers, September/October 2011.
Lev Grossman talks about his second "Harry Potter for Grownups" novel, "The Magician King," The Daily Beast, August 10, 2011.
Alice La Plante talks about her Alzheimer's mystery, "Turn of Mind," The Daily Beast, July 27, 2011.
"Kate Christensen's Winning Novels about Losers," Review of "The Astral," in The Daily Beast, June 15, 2011.
"Five Best Films from Books," (Mr. & Mrs. Bridge, The English Patient, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Legends of the Fall, Atonement) in The Daily Beast, May 24, 2011.
"The Future of Book Reviews,"report on the National Book Critics Circle conversation I moderated at PEN World Voices 2011 with Cynthia Ozick, Morris Dickstein, Herve Le Tellier and Carsten Jensen, The Daily Beasy, May 12, 2011.
Review of Madison Smartt Bell, "The Color of Night," The Daily Beast, April 11, 2011.
Review of Ann Packer fiction collection, "Swim Back to Me," Barnes and Noble Review, April 6, 2011.
Review of "Say Her Name," Francisco Goldman novel,in Bookforum, April/May 2011 issue.
Short story "Shanghai Blues," in Issue #2 of The Literarian, the Center for Fiction literary quarterly edited by Dawn Raffel.
Review of "The Oracle of Stamboul," first novel by Michael David Lukas, the Los Angeles Times, March 13, 2011.
Interview with Jill Bialosky, author of "History of a Suicide," The Daily Beast, March 5, 2011.
Review of T.C. Boyle's "When the Killing's Done," The Daily Beast, February 28, 2011.
"The Mythical Harlem," interview with Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts, author of "Harlem Is Nowhere," The Daily Beast, February 18, 2011.
"A Week in Culture," Part II, The Paris Review, February 3, 2011.
"A Week in Culture," Part I, The Paris Review, February 2, 2011.
Review of Karen Russell's "Swamplandia!", NPR.org, February 2, 2011.
Review of Siobhan Fallon's "We Know When the Men Have Gone," Barnes & Noble Review, January 27, 2011; Salon, February 2, 2011.
Review of "Harlem Is Nowhere" by Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts, NPR.org, January 25, 2011.
"How to Pick a Book Award," about the how the National Book Critics Circle awards are chosen, The Daily Beast, January 22, 2011.
Review of Charles Baxter's story collection "Gryphon," NPR.org, January 13, 2011.
"Great Weekend Reads," review of Andrew O'Hagan's novel "The Life and opinions of Maf the Dog and His Friend Marilyn Monroe," The Daily Beast, December 13, 2010.
Review of Laura Hillenbrand's nonfiction book "Unbroken," the Los Angeles Times, November 28,2010.
"Mad for Henry James," interview with Cynthia Ozick, The Daily Beast, Novemer 15, 2010.
"Love and Vengeance," review of Paul Auster's novel "Sunset Park," NPR.org, November 10, 2010.
Review of Charles Elton's novel "Mr. Toppit," Minneapolis Star-Tribune, November 6, 2010.
'Bee Season' Author Returns; False Friend Atones, review of Myla Goldberg's novel "The False Friend," NPR.org, October 27, 2010.
Two Generations "Bound" by Friendship and Fear, review of Antonya Nelson's novel "Bound," NPR.org, October 23, 2010.
Interview with Dinaw Mengestu, author of "How to Read the Air," Writers to Watch, The Daily Beast, October 11, 2010.
"China's Chekhov," interview with Yiyun Li, author of "Gold Boy, Emerald Girl," The Daily Beast, September 22, 2010.
"Gold Boy,Emerald Girl: A Study in Solitude," review of Yiyun Li's short story collection "Gold Boy, Emerald Girl," NPR.org, September 22, 2010.
Review of Dinaw Mengestu's "How to Read the Air," Oprah magazine, October, 2010.
Review of Sara Gruen's "Ape House," Salon.com, September 7, 2010. B&N Review, September 6, 2010.
Review of Jose Saramago's "The Elephant's Journey," Los Angeles Times, September 5, 2010.
Review of Mona Simpson's "My Hollywood,"August 16, 2010. NPR.org.
Review of Rick Moody's "The Four Fingers of Death," August 9, 2010, NPR.org.
Review of "The Glass Rainbow" by James Lee Burke, August 6, 2010, NPR.org.
Interview with Lauren Belfer re her new novel "A Fierce Radiance," The Daily Beast, July 28, 2010.
Review of Melanie Sumner's "The Ghost of Milagro Creek,"NPR.org, July 22, 2010.
"The Book on Aging Rockers," interview with Jennifer Egan, author of "A Visit from the Goon Squad," The Daily Beast, June 29, 2010.
"The Best of the NPR Best Sellers," my selection of five from the NPR indy bestseller list: novels by Isabel Allende, Sue Miller, Jodi Picoult, Tom Rachman, and Rebecca Skloot's "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks," NPR.org, June 29, 2010.
Review of "Work Song" by Ivan Doig, Barnes & Noble Review, June 30, 2010.
"'Lemon Cake' Offers up a Surreal Slice of Salinger," review of Aimee Bender's "The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake," NPR.org, June 10, 2010.
Interview with Andrea Levy re her novel "The Long Song," The Daily Beast, June 8, 2010.
"Five Must-Read Short-Story Collections," reviews of collections by Jabari Asim, Robin Black, Dawn Raffel, Marisa Silver and Tiphanie Yanique, The Daily Beast, May 30, 2010.
"Smiley's 'Life': The Demands of a Loveless Marriage," review of Jane Smiley novel "A Private Life," NPR.org, May 19,2010.
"A Hero Behind the Lens," review of Lauren Belfer's novel "A Fierce Radiance" in O, the Oprah Magazine, May 2010.
"Finding Humanity in Jamaica's Last Days of Slavery," review of Andrea Levy's "The Long Song," npr.org, May 14, 2010.
Review of "Off We Go into the Wild Blue Yonder" by Travis Nichols in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, May 1, 2010.
Review of "Cakewalk: A Memoir" by Kate Moses, Chicago Tribune, April 28, 2010.
Review of Anna Quindlen's "Every Last One," npr.org, April 21, 2010.
Review of "Beatrice and Virgil," Jann Martel's follow-up to "Life of Pi," npr.org, April 17, 2010.
"Witnesses of War Can't Wash Their Hands of Tragedy," review of Chang-rae Lee's novel "The Surrendered," npr.org, March 30, 2010.
"Angelology: A Cross-Bred Monster of a Novel," review of Danielle Trussoni's "Angelology," npr.org, March 11, 2010.
"Five Best Hollywood Novels," The Daily Beast, March 7, 2010.
"Nine Strangers, One Amazing Thing,"review of Chitra Divakaruni's "One Amazing Thing," npr.org, February 23, 2010.
"A Century of Schoolgirls' Secrets and Desires," review of Gail Godwin's "Unfinished Desires," npr.org, January 28, 2010.
"Anne Tyler's Everyday American, Nearing the End," review of "Noah's Compass" on npr.org, January 13, 2010.
"The Unstoppable Cult of Jane Eyre," interview with novelist Sheila Kohler on The Daily Beast, January 9, 2010.
Elizabeth Gilbert's "Committed," reviewed on npr.org, January 5, 2010.
Kurt Vonnegut's "Look at the Birdie," reviewed in Truthdig, December 25,2009.
"Seduction and Betrayal in Paul Auster's 'Invisible,'" review on npr.org November 6, 2009.
"Foer's Call to Arms," interview with Jonathan Safran Foer about his nonfiction book "Eating Animals," on The Daily Beast, November 2, 2009.
"Stoned in Manhattan," interview with Jonathan Lethem about his novel "Chronic City," on The Daily Beast, October 20, 2009.
"Whimsical Novel Puts Happiness Under Microscope," review of Richard Powers novel "Generosity" on npr.org, October 19. 2009.
"Writing the West," a Bookforum.com syllabus including Oakley Hall's "Warlock," Dashiell Hammett's "Red Harvest," Jim Harrison's "Legends of the Fall," Richard Ford's "Rock Springs," Annie Proulx's Wyoming stories. September 23, 2009.
"Disease and Dystopia in Atwood's 'Flood,'" Review of Margaret Atwood's "The Year of the Flood" on npr.org, September 11, 2009.
"Amid the Rubbish, Doctorow Finds Meaning," Review of E.L. Doctorow's "Homer & Langley" on npr.org, September 4, 2009.
"Doctorow's High-Society Hermits," interview with E.L. Doctorow re his novel "Homer & Langley," based on the hermit-like Collyer brothers, The Daily Beast, September 1, 2009. (See link at right.)
Review of Lev Grossman's novel "The Magicians," Barnes & Noble Review, August 31, 2009.
Review of Nicola Keegan's first novel, "Swimming," npr.org, August 12, 2009.
Review of James Lee Burke's "Rain Gods," Barnes & Noble Review, July 17, 2009.
Review of Jonah Raskin's "Field Days" and Brad Kessler's "Goat Song" in Truthdig, July 10, 2009.
Review of Kate Christensen novel "Trouble" in Bookforum, June/July/August 2009 issue. (See link at right.)
Review of Elaine Showalter's "A Jury of Her Peers," Barnes & Noble Review, May 26, 2009.
Interview with Aleksandar Hemon, "Love and Obstacles," in The Daily Beast, May 14, 2009.
Review of Binnie Kirshenbaum, "The Scenic Route," Barnes & Noble Review, May 11, 2009.
Review of Colson Whitehead, "Sag Harbor," May 1, 2009, Barnes & Noble Review.
Review of "Vanessa & Virginia," by Susan Sellers in More Nagazine, May 2009 issue.
Short story, "Mud," selected by Abby Frucht, guest fiction editor, for Lost Magazine.[http://www.lostmag.com/issue33/mud.php]
Interview with Colson Whitehead re his novel "Sag Harbor" in The Daily Beast, April 19, 2009; February 19,2009 (see link at right).
"Harvard Tests a Boomer School," February 5, 2009 "Live and Learn."
Review of "American Buffalo: In Search of a Lost Icon," by Steve Rinella, Los Angeles Times, December 5, 2008.
ONE-MINUTE REVIEWS: "The Film Club" by David Gilmour; "Hurry Down Sunshine" by Michael Greenberg; "An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination" by Elizabeth McCracken; "The House at Sugar Beach" by Helene Cooper,” The Chicago Tribune, November 22, 2008.
"Jane Ciabattari on Toni Morrison's 'A Mercy,'" Truthdig, November 14, 2008. (See link.)
"Five Moving Stories About Persisting through Hard Times," Memoir roundup, Washington Post Book World, November 2, 2008.
Review of "White Heat," Brenda Wineapple literary biography of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson, in Truthdig, September 11, 2008
"Four New Novels about Young Women Facing some of Life's Most Difficult Challenges," review of Amy Shearn's "How Far Is the Ocean from Here," Elizabeth Brundage's "Somebody Else's Daughter," Elisa Albert's "The Book of Dahlia" and Haven Kimmel's "Iodine" in the Washington Post Book World, August 3, 2008.
Review of Nicholas Shakespeare novel "Secrets of the Sea" the Los Angeles Times, July 29, 2008.
Short story "MamaGodot" in Chautauqua magazine 20th anniversary issue, Summer 2008.
Review of Jan Beatty poetry collection, "Red Sugar," in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 11, 2008.
"A River of Debris," review of Micheline Aharonian Marcom's novel "Draining the Sea," in the Los Angeles Times, April 4, 2008.
Review of "Refresh,Refresh," short story collection by Benjamin Percy, in the Los Angeles Times, October 23 2007.
Short story "Aftershocks" in KGB Bar Lit, Fall 2007. (See link.)
"Stylish Story," review of Gioia Diliberto's novel "The Collection" in The Chicago Tribune, September 15, 2007.
"MamaGodot," short story in Fall/Winter 2007 issue of VerbSap (see link).
Review of "Here When You Need Me," memoir by Kate Braestrip, in August 30, 2007 issue of the Washington Post.
"After the Deluge," review of Post-Katrina fiction in The Guardian, August 8, 2007.
"A Thousand Splendid Suns," by Khaled Hosseini,reviewed in The Los Angeles Times, May 21, 2007.
"What Every Child Needs to Know," article about history high schools, Spring 2007 "Live & Learn."
"Finding a lost family--and losing it again," review of A.M. Homes' memoir,"The Mistress's Daughter," The Chicago Tribune, April 8, 2007.
"Humble Abundance," profile of entrepreneur and former White House Fellow Sean McLaughlin in SUCCESS Magazine, March/April 2007.http://www.successmagazine.com/article.php?article_id=133
"Alice Hoffman's 'Skylight Confessions:'A Modern Gothic Tale of Love, Betrayal and Guilt," The Los Angeles Times, January 7, 2007.
"Years Apart, Lovers Reconnect," review of Nicholas Delbanco novel "Spring and Fall," The Los Angeles Times, November 7, 2006.
"How I Left Onandaga County," short story, in anthology THE BEST UNDERGROUND FICTION, edited by Jeff Mekos and Scott Miles (Stolen Time Press), November 2006.
"Margaret Atwood Covers a Lifetime in Her Stories," review of Margaret Atwood's short story collection "Moral Disorder," The Los Angeles Times Book Review, September 24,2006.
"The Road to Enlightenment," interview with John Wood for SUCCESS Magazine, September/October 2006.
"From Star Wars to Star Schools," Cover story on George Lucas for Live&Learn, Summer 2006.
"An idyllic retreat is everything but relaxing," a review of "The Cottagers," a novel by Marshall N. Klimasewiski, in the Los Angeles Times, July 22, 2006.
"Inside Maine: Books," a review of Heidi Pitlor's first novel, "The Birthdays," in Down East magazine, August 2006.
"A Summer Place Draws Year-Round Attention," article about Forestville, CA in Sonoma County in The New York Times, June 30, 2006.
"Circling," a review of Martha McPhee's novel "L'America" in the Los Angeles Times,June 11, 2006.
"A Southern Retreat Goes International,” article on the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts in Poets & Writers magazine, March/April 2006.
Review of "Midnight Sun," novel by Lawrence Osgood, The East Hampton Star,January 2006.
"A Tale of Redemption through Punk Rock," review of Brendan Halpin novel "Long Way Back," the Los Angeles Times, January 10, 2006.
"Female Africans Take Lead in Prize-Winning Fiction," November 27, 2005 story for Women's eNews about Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Sudanese novelist Leila Aboulela and Zimbabwean novelist/filmmaker Tsitsi Dangarembga. http://www.womensenews.org/article.cfm/dyn/aid/2539/context/cover/
"Who Can Save Public Schools?", cover story on Caroline Kennedy, Bill Gates and Michael Bloomberg public/private partnership in New York City, Live & Learn, Fall 2005.
Review of Sheila Kohler novels "Crossways" and "The Perfect Place," The East Hampton Star, October 27, 2005.
"Once Privileged, Newly Impoverished," review of Leila Aboulela novel "Mineret," The Los Angeles Times, October 22, 2005.
"Vanity Is a Major Force in 'The Diviners,'" review of Rick Moody novel "The Diviners," The Los Angeles Times, September 12, 2005 (http://www.calendarlive.com/books/reviews/cl-et-book12sep12,0,2676848,print.story?coll=cl-books-reviews)
"Past unravels attempt at a new life," review of Lily King's novel "The English Teacher," The Los Angeles Times, August 31, 2005.
"Happiness is elusive for today's literary families," The Chicago Tribune, August 28, 2005, review of Ann Bauer's "A Wild Ride Up the Cupboards," Robert James Waller's "High Plains Drifter," Anne Bernays's "Trophy House," MacKenzie Bezos's "The Testing of Luther Albright" and Lisa Grunwald's "Whatever Makes You Happy."
"Tracking a Spirit to its Source," review of Jim Harrison novella collection "The Summer He Didn't Die," The Los Angeles Times, August 21, 2005.
"Tale of Family Baggage Shatters a Tote-full of Taboos," Review of novel "Envy" by Kathryn Harrison, The Los Angeles Times, July 10, 2005.
Review of "No Direction Home," first novel by Marisa Silver, The Los Angeles Times, June 26, 2005.
Review of "Leeway Cottage," novel by Beth Gutcheon, in The Los Angeles Times, June 5, 2005.
Review of "The Bitch Posse," first novel by M. O'Connor, The Chicago Tribune, May 22, 2005.
"The Incredible Edible Schoolyard," cover story on Alice Waters's Berkeley school initiatives, Live and Learn, Spring 2005 issue.
"Tales from the Front Lines of Relationships," review of James Salter short-story collection "Last Night," The Los Angeles Times, May 1, 2005.
"A Clan Ripped, Only to Ripen,"review of Sue Miller novel "Lost in the Forest," The Los Angeles Times, April 24, 2005.
Review of Mary Gordon novel "Pearl," The Chicago Tribune, March 2005.
"Bouncing Between Men and Narrators," review of Pam Houston's first novel, "Sighthound," in
The Los Angeles Times, January 22, 2005.
Review of Suzanne McNear's short story collection "Drought" in The East Hampton Star, January 20, 2005.
"A Revolution of Sensibility," article on undergraduate creative writing programs at Knox, Oberlin and Sarah Lawrence,in Poets & Writersmagazine, January/February 2005 (see link).
"A Cruel Escalation in War Between the Sexes," review of "Seconds of Pleasure," first short story collection by Neil Labute, in the Los Angeles Times, November 12, 2004.
"Making Choices, Taking Chances: Michigan is the setting for two tales of family entanglements," cover review of "The Mercy Killers" by Lisa Reardon and "All These Girls" by Ellen Slezak, in The Chicago Tribune, October 2004.
Review of "The Falls" by Joyce Carol Oates, The Washington Post Book World, September 13, 2004.
"How I Left Onondaga County and Found Peace and Contentment on Seventy-second Street," short story in Ms. Magazine, Summer 2004.
Review of Lily Tuck novel, "The News from Paraguay," in Ms. Magazine, summer 2004.
"A bittersweet look at life's denouement." Review of "The Lemon Table" by Julian Barnes in The Los Angeles Times Book Review, July 11, 2004.
"A fable for wartime, for our time." Review of novel "Without Blood" by Alessandro Baricco in The Los Angeles Times Book Review, June 20, 2004. "'Without Blood' is an exquisitely crafted fable for our times, a novel that addresses the questions that reverberate in the background of the news each day: When is a war over? How can a soldier return to normal life? How many years, how many generations will it take to forgive?"
Review of "The Summer Guest," by Justin Cronin,The Chicago Tribune, June 20, 2004.
"Once Upon Our Time," a review of A.S. Byatt's short-story collection, "Little Black Book of Stories," in the Los Angeles Times, May 9, 2004: "The distinguished British scholar, critic and novelist A.S. Byatt acquired a hunger for fairy tales in the dark days of the blackout and blitz in World War II. To this day, this Victorian postmodernist is an aficionado of the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen....These bewitching stories are immensely readable, fiercely intelligent and studded with astonishing refracting images. 'Little Black Book of Stories' is a virtuoso performance by a master storyteller; Byatt spins pure gold from the darkest elements in our nature."*
"Nature at its Most Revealing," a review of Hannah Tinti's short-story collection "Animal Crackers" in the Los Angeles Times, March 28, 2004. "It is a joy to encounter a new short-story writer with the bite and sparkling freshness of Hannah Tinti...."Animal Crackers" builds steadily, story by story, introducing us to a writer who has stepped off the safe ground and into realms that promise even more excitement in years to come."
"The Learning Season: The Writers' Center at Chautauqua," in Poets & Writers Magazine, March/April 2004 issue.
"Family Roots: A review of Sandra Benitez's novel "Night of the Radishes," in The Washington Post, February 22, 2004.
"Hiding Out," short story in Literary Mama (www.literarymama.com or see link), January 2004.
"Diary of a Life among the Raj," review of Susannah Moore's novel "One Last Look" in The Los Angeles Times, November 30, 2003.
"A provocative novel of culture, class," review of Jessica Hagedorn's novel "Dream Jungle" in The Chicago Tribune, November 16, 2003. Intro: "Like playwright/prose writer/performer Sam Shepard, Jessica Hagedorn has channeled her creative energies into many forms. She is a poet (a onetime protegee of Kenneth Rexroth's), a playwright (she got her start collaborating with Thulani Davis and Ntozake Shange for Joseph Papp's Public Theater), a musician (in the rock band Gangster Choir), performing artist, screenwriter and novelist. Like Shepard, Hagedorn blends images of her native land (her Philippines is the counterpart to his American West) with those of popular culture and uses musical rhythms and abrupt jump cuts to propel her work.
"Now, as the publication of her third novel heralds a new maturity in Hagedorn's work, there are more points of comparison with Shepard. In the 1960s and early 1970s, he wrote surreal, often-hilarious rock 'n' roll riffs of plays like "Mad Dog Blues" and "Cowboy Mouth." Then he turned to digging into the pain of the American family in "The Curse of the Starving Class," "True West" and "Buried Child." Hagedorn started out in the mid-1970s writing a jazzy mix of poetry and prose in works like "Dangerous Music" and "Mango Tango." "Dogeaters," her first novel, was a 1990 National Book Award nominee. Now, in "Dream Jungle," she has crafted her most integrated and ambitious work to date. The novel is at once acerbic, cinematic and sizzlingly sensual.
"Authors Writing About the Hamptons: Wintering at Montauk," Fiction in Dan's Papers, October 31, 2003.
"The Miracle of the Mushroom Picker," a review of David Guterson's novel "Our Lady of the Forest," The Los Angeles Times Book Review, September 28, 2003.
"Flawed Designs," a review of Victoria Glendinning novel "Flight" in Washington Post Book World, July 27, 2003.
"Editor's Choice: Editors on Reviews. Why Some Books Get Reviewed and Others Don't," Poets & Writers magazine, July/August 2003. http://www.pw.org.
Review of "A Few Brief Notes on Tropical Butterflies" by John Murray, The Chicago Tribune Book Review, May 4, 2003.
"Tennessee Williams Story Unearthed," in Readerville magazine, May 2003.
"The Go-Go Eighties," review of "Good Faith," by Jane Smiley, The Los Angeles Times Book Review, April 27, 2003.
"The House on Beartown Road," review of memoir by Elizabeth Cohen, The Washington Post, April 13, 2003.
Fiction roundup ("Adele: Jane Eyre's Hidden Story" by Emma Tennant, "Three Daughters" by Letty Cottin Pogrebin, "Frontera Street" by Tanya Maria Barrietos, "A Singular Hostage" by Thalassa Ali, "Terrible Angel: A Novel of Michael Collins in New York" by Dermot McEvoy), The Washington Post, February 9, 2003.
”Arabella Leaves (short story), Ms. magazine, December 2002/January 2003. (See link at right.)
"The Green Hour," by Frederic Tuten, review in The Easthampton Star, December 19, 2002.
"Survivor of Attacks Speaks for Iraqi Women," Women's Enews, December 10, 2002.
"July, July," by Tim O'Brien, review in Los Angeles Times Book Review, November 2002.
"Weaving and Wandering toward a Border to the Past" review of Sandra Cisneros novel Caramelo, Los Angeles Times, September 2002.
"The Heart of Redness," review of Zakes Mda novel The Heart of Redness,San Francisco Chornicle, August 2002.
"Trials of an American Girlhood," review of Elizabeth Berg novel True to Form, Washington Post Book World, August 2002.
"Portrait of a Gentleman Publisher," Provincetown Arts, 2002.
"Fascinating Rhythm," review of Oscar Hijuelos novel A Simple Habana Melody, Washington Post Book World, July 2002.
"Morality and Mortality on Wall Street," review of Kate Jennings novel Moral Hazard, San Francisco Chronicle, June 2002. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/chronicle/archive/2002/06/30/RV195666.DTL
"Streets with No Name," review of Alessandro Barrico novel City, Los Angeles Times, June 2002.
"Who Will Become President?" cover story, Parade magazine, June 2002.
"The Goodbye Girl," review of Carol Shields novel Unless, Los Angeles Times, May 2002.
"After He Breaks His Neck, Will She Stay or Go?" review of Ann Packer novel The Dive from Clausen's Pier, San Francisco Chronicle, April 2002. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2002/04/28/RV80454.DTL
"Creep Show," review of Stephen King collection Everything's Eventual, Washington Post Book World, March 2002.
“Your Imperfections Make You Beautiful,” cover story on Sandra Bullock, Parade magazine, March 2002.
"Forbidden Fruit," review of Richard Ford collection A Multitude of Sins, February 2002. http://events.calendarlive.com/top/1,1419,L-LATimes-Books-X!ArticleDetail-51237,00.html
"Roots in India, Lives in America," review of Chitra Divakaruni novel The Vine of Desire, Los Angeles Times, January 2002.
"Mysteries and Revelations," review of Alice Munro collection Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage, Los Angeles Times, November 2001. http://events.calendarlive.com/top/1,1419,L-LATimes-Books-X!ArticleDetail-46157,00.html
"The Alchemical Heart of Ramon Alcolea," Provincetown Arts, Summer 2001. http://provincetownartistregistry.com/A/alcolea_ramon.html
“His Hollywood Secret: Friendship,” profile of John Cusack, Parade magazine, July 2001. http://www.simsstudio.com/CUSACK101PARADE.htm
"Memorial Day" (short story), Hampton Shorts, 2001.
“All You Have to Do Is Try,” profile of Renee Zellweger, Parade magazine. May 2001.
"Now I Know What's Sacred," cover story on Sylvester Stallone, Parade magazine, April 2001.
“Now, Family Is Important,” profile of Michael Douglas, Parade magazine, January 2001.
"While Cruel Wars Rage, African Women Wage Peace," article on Sudan in Women's Enews, December 2000. http://www.womensenews.org/article.cfm?aid=555&context=archive
"Rwanda Gambles on Renewal, not Revenge," article, Women's Enews, October 2000.
"From Rwanda's Ashes, Women Are Building Anew," article, Women's Enews, October 2000.
"Is Either Candidate Man Enough to Pick a Woman for Vice President?" cover story, Parade magazine, April 2000.
"Stealing the Fire" (short story), The East Hampton Star, 1999.
“I Picked Up the Pieces,” cover story on Halle Berry, Parade magazine, August 1999.
"Five Who Could Be President," cover story, Parade magazine, February 1999.
"Wintering at Montauk" (short story), Hampton Shorts, 1996.
"They Married for Money," review of Richard Clurman's "To the End of Time: The Seduction and Conquest of a Media Empire," Columbia Journalism Review, May/June 1992. http://www.cjr.org/year/92/3/books-clurman.asp
"Fun and Games" (short story), Caprice, 1992.
“Intelligence Report,” weekly column in Parade magazine, 2,000 stories on international affairs, Washington politics and cultural issues, 1991-2000.
"Once in a Blue Moon" (short story), 1990.
“Will the ‘90s Be The Age of Envy?” cover story, Psychology Today, December 1989.
"A Pilgrimage" (short story), Denver Quarterly, 1987.
Winning Moves (Rawson Associates/Macmillan 1986, Literary Guild offering; Penguin paperback 1987).
"The Almost-Perfect Man" (short story), Redbook, 1985.
"Gridlock," (short story), Redbook, 1984.
"Meeting Deadlines," novella, Redbook, 1981.
"Pulling Pieces Together" (short story), Redbook, 1976.
"Totems" (short story), Redbook, 1975.
"Hiding Out" (short story), The North American Review, 1974 (reprinted in Redbook 1974).
Do you like my web site?
Click and type in a question or comment
Hello If you would like to convert all your books in to an e- book in any format you request and require . Then please contact me i can assure you best output.
I love your timelines as seen in AARP magazine. Do you have any that focus on seniors and senior issues?
I have attempted to register as a new member..and wish to read and obtain a copy in the "quick Link" read new york times article on Forestville Ca. inSonoma County. Thank you. firstname.lastname@example.org
Hey! I'am Suzanne McNear's grandaughter, i just wanted to say hello and tell you that i love the site! ~Georgina
Where can I get the book? Karen from Lincoln, Nebraska
I like it very much!
-- Susie from Idaho