Ken Babstock reviews Sontag: Her Life and Work by Benjamin Moser and Testosterone Rex by Cordelia Fine.
This fall we are reading two Guggenheim recipients’ collections of short stories that cut to the heart of the world we’re living in.
Our favourite reads this summer include a tale of Soviet espionage by Ben Macintyre and a posthumous collection of short stories by Lucia Berlin.
Books by Kassia St. Clair and Joshua Rivkin.
Books by Laura van den Berg and Miriam Toews.
Books by Rachel Cusk and Richard Sennett.
Books by Brian Dillon and Christopher de Hamel.
A woman’s life is upended after two strange sources report seeing her doppelgänger; a magisterial mélange of hard-core biology, philosophy, and octopuses around the world.
Books by Maggie Nelson and Jonathan B. Losos.
A collection of short stories and the portrait of a young university student.
A survey of humanity and a stunning collection of personal essays.
Essential reading for spring.
Explorations of whether loneliness is a social malice, or something prehistorically determined, even necessary.
It’s a good time for scouring any vestiges of Platonism from one’s head.
Vulnerability, confusion, and irrational fears.
From games and gaming to puzzles and crafting, our preferences and tastes during leisure time can prove indicators of other aspects of ourselves, individually and as a social body.
Forget everything you know about novels of the immigrant experience.
I do love it when a book with the word “enthralling” on its back cover actually turns out to be enthralling.
There’s no end to the catalogue of ways humans suffer, and manage to inflict suffering: illness and injury, psychic suffering, material deprivation, heartache, loneliness, catastrophe, separation, history, bad luck.
Consider for a moment the possibility that our very selves—our centred, internal, ever-present cluster of backstories we identify with the letter I—comprise as much everything we haven’t done as everything we’ve done. Everyone we haven’t become as much as who it is we find we have. Can anything useful be gleaned from the premise?
Many contemporary novels, however enjoyable, seem content tracing the doings and events and psychologies corralled inside their clearly delineated piece of fictional terrain. Other novels, however, throw open the windows and let the world’s chaos blow throw a narrative.