Streams

Heller McAlpin

Heller McAlpin appears in the following:

Playful And Serious? 'How To Be' Is Both

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Ali Smith's new How To Be Both combines inventive structural trickery and warm, sardonic writing in in parallel tales of a bereaved modern teenager and an Italian renaissance fresco painter.

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Behind The Famous Story, A Difficult 'Wild Truth'

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

When Christopher McCandless died in the wilds of Alaska, his story became famous all over the world. A new memoir by his sister Carine reveals some of the reasons he chose to walk away from the world.

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'Republic Of Imagination' Sings The Praises Of Literature

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The author of Reading Lolita in Tehran returns, this time with a paean to the importance of literature in a democratic society. Reviewer Heller McAlpin says Azar Nafisi may be preaching to the choir.

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The Feathery Saga Of A 'Sucker For Unwanted Birds'

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Michelle Raffin's new The Birds of Pandemonium is an impassioned but occasionally jumbled memoir of her adventures in the noisy, smelly, exhausting, rewarding world of rare bird conservation.

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A Slow Simmer Of Grief And Strength In 'Nora Webster'

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Colm Tóibín's new novel is set in his Irish home town in the early 1970s, and follows the titular Nora as she and her family struggle to cope with the loss of her beloved husband.

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A Feisty Writer Spars With Her Young Protege

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Brian Morton's Florence Gordon is about the relationship between a tough, 75-year-old feminist icon and her granddaughter. It's self-aware, funny and full of characters that are entirely believable.

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'The Dog': Dubious Dealings In Dubai

Saturday, September 13, 2014

There are no winners in Joseph O'Neill's new novel The Dog, just a long downward spiral into stalemate as the nameless narrator flees a bad breakup and gets mired in shady financial dealings in Dubai.

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'Father And Son' Is Part Homage, Part Indictment

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Marcos Giralt Torrente's memoir of his absentee father, the famed Spanish painter Juan Giralt, frequently resorts to lists and repetition to get across Torrente's exasperation, anger and love.

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Challenging, Shattering 'Girl' Is No Half-Formed Thing

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Eimear McBride's debut uses fractured poetry to tell the story of a young girl trying to drown mental anguish with physical pain. Critic Heller McAlpin calls it devastating and ferociously original.

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Lip Gloss, Handbags And Margaret Drabble In 'The Fame Lunches'

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Daphne Merkin's new essay collection straddles the high/low cultural divide with aplomb. Reviewer Heller McAlpin says Lunches is unfailingly intelligent, but should be enjoyed in small bites.

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You Would Think 'Adultery' Would Be A Little More Tantalizing

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Critic Heller McAlpin says readers picking up Paulo Coelho's new Adultery in search of deep philosophical insight on marital infidelity and a lack of cliches might be better off with Madame Bovary.

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Did You Hear The One About The Stand-Up Comedian And The Podcast?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

It used to be that a TV appearance was the key to success for comedians. In the past five years stand-up comedy has seen a global revival thanks to the Internet, and in particular, thanks to podcasts.

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Where Love's Concerned, This 'Magic Barrel' Is No Magic Bullet

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Anya Ulinich's new graphic novel is inspired by Bernard Malamud's "The Barrel" — both star choosy loners looking for love. But Malamud's swoony violins and lit candles don't apply to Lena Finkle.

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20 Million Gallons Later, UCLA Water Main Finally Plugged

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The 93-year-old main burst earlier this week, spewing water into a parking garage on campus.

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Sorry, Europe. 'Quebert Affair' Plot Thrills, But Prose Lacks Substance

Saturday, June 28, 2014

The chilling murder mystery The Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair may be a bestseller abroad, but critic Heller McAlpin tells those looking for literary depth not to get their hopes up.

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Stories Of Loss, Brightened By Luminous Language

Monday, May 26, 2014

The nine tales in Elizabeth McCracken's Thunderstruck deal with death, tragedy and darkness, but the collection shines due to the mesmerizing strangeness of its extraordinary images.

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Before She Was 'Girl, Interrupted' She Was A Girl From Cambridge

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Two decades after Girl, Interrupted, Susanna Kaysen is back with Cambridge, an unflinching, elegiac, quasi-autobiographical novel that takes us back to her childhood in the 1950s.

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Full Of Warmth And Wisdom, 'Vacationers' Is A Frothy Beach Read

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Vacationers is a cinematic family drama set on the picturesque island of Mallorca. While the narrative arc verges on predictable, the book's screwball charms make for a pleasant diversion.

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'Empathy Exams' Is A Virtuosic Manifesto Of Human Pain

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Leslie Jamison's new book of essays, The Empathy Exams, combines the intellectual and the emotional to explore the humanizing effect of empathy. Heller McAlpin calls it a "soaring performance."

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Comedian Ages With Humor — And Effort

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

In her new book of essays, I See You Made an Effort, comedian Annabelle Gurwitch muses on middle-aged life. Critic Heller McAlpin says that the book, infused throughout with "sharp wit," is hilarious.

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