Some of my work on Updike was discussed on The Dish with Andrew Sullivan.
Some of my work on Ross Macdonald was discussed on Pretty Sinister Books.
Here is my interview with superstar music impresario Wendy Starland.
Here is my interview with Pulitzer Prize nominee Olympia Vernon.
Here is my interview with the editor of Best American Short Stories, Heidi Pitlor.
Here is my interview with acclaimed artist Emil Kazaz.
My musing on John D. Macdonald, Travis McGee, and the chicks was picked up on The Rap Sheet.

Kevin Powers: The Yellow Birds



          Just like you, I’ve been reading books for a long, long time.  Sometimes I feel like it’s all I ever do.  I can honestly say that, before Kevin Powers’ The Yellow Birds, the last novel that really jarred me in an almost physical way was The Room by Hubert Selby Jr. – a long, long time ago.
          Powers writes with a sense of understatement and poetic awareness that is completely effective, wholly unnerving, and totally convincing.  This dreamsketch of a novel is brilliant in its use of a light touch, its attunement to colors and shadings, and in the way Powers alters chronology, much like cutting up individual frames from a film strip and then arranging them together so that they play out of order. 
          There’s very little reason for me to go into a detailed review here – the book is almost unanimously praised, and justly so – but I would humbly remark on just one passage that raised, for me, a number of questions about how literature functions.
          This passage begins on page 145 with “How can metal be so on fire?” and on through to “…and fuck  ‘em all” on 146.   (I’m using the Back Bay paperback edition of April, 2103.)  The first thing that jumped into my mind when reading this was, “Hemingway would never have written his,” which is neither good nor bad, just an observation on a difference in style.  I stopped for a minute, wondering if this much background on Bartle was necessary or appropriate – the one brief hesitation I had about what is otherwise an almost perfect piece of work.  

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