Heller McAlpin

Heller McAlpin appears in the following:

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


'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."


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.


'One More Thing' Has A Few Too Many Things, But It's Still Funny

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Office writer B.J. Novak's new story collection covers everything from carrot cake to artificial intelligence. Reviewer Heller McAlpin says the book has a few too many things packed into it, but overall, the collection is "wildly promising."


Anna Quindlen Is (Still) The Voice Of Her Generation

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Quindlen's novel Still Life with Bread Crumbs is predictably comforting and readable, even as it details the challenges of a modern middle-aged woman: the fallout of divorce, a career on the wane, and the endless financial and emotional support demanded by her family.


Music And Chemistry Are An Explosive Combination In 'Orfeo'

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Richard Powers' new novel follows an avant-garde composer who has sacrificed everything in his pursuit of transcendent music — and who gets into trouble when he attempts to combine his twin obsessions of music and chemistry. Reviewer Heller McAlpin says Powers hits a high note with Orfeo.


E.L. Doctorow's New Novel 'Puzzling And Ultimately Disappointing'

Friday, January 17, 2014

E.L. Doctorow's new novel Andrew's Brain takes the reader deep into the mind of a cognitive scientist who's struggling with both scientific questions and personal tragedy. Critic Heller McAlpin says the book, which takes the form of Andrew's monologue to a doctor, is "a real head-scratcher."


'Boy Detective' Walks Down Memory Lane, But Doesn't Get Anywhere

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Loosely structured as a stroll through New York City, Roger Rosenblatt's memoir includes playful, endearing anecdotes from his childhood in Gramercy Park. But critic Heller McAlpin notes that his rambling riffs and excruciatingly slow pace make it a difficult read.


An Exhaustive Survey From Columbus To Nemesis In 'Roth Unbound'

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Claudia Roth Pierpont's new Roth Unbound looks at themes in the work of Philip Roth (no relation). All the themes, in every book by the famously prolific writer. Reviewer Heller McAlpin says it's "a dazzling if sometimes exhausting journey" that dutifully addresses Roth's foibles as well as his talent.


Suburban Islands Of Regret, More Than 'Nine Inches' Apart

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Tom Perrotta has been called "the Steinbeck of suburbia" for his depictions of self-sabotaging adolescents and foolish middle-class adults. His new book — his first short-story collection in 19 years — is full of strong but repetitive stories, sad tales of failures earnestly yearning to do better.


Last Words: An Author's Rhymed Farewell

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

While Dr. Seuss, David Rakoff was not, the author, it's clear, cared a whole awful lot. This book — his last — is a rhymed, pensive story: A triumph, says Heller McAlpin, in all its sly glory.


City, Comedy And Calamity In Cathleen Schine's New Novel

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Cathleen Schine's new novel follows a young boy and his older half-sister, making a life for themselves in Greenwich Village. Reviewer Heller McAlpin says Fin & Lady is entertaining and moving.


A Family's Secrets And Sorrows Surface In 'Heatwave'

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Maggie O'Farrell's new novel, Instructions for a Heatwave, follows a troubled Irish Catholic family in London over the course of four scorching July days in 1976. Reviewer Heller McAlpin says Heatwave is a beautiful book about "the importance of forgiving those you love."