Heller McAlpin appears in the following:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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."
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
Tuesday, June 04, 2013
Lionel Shriver has never shied away from contentious topics. Her latest novel, Big Brother, tackles the hot-button issue of obesity as doll-maker Pandora deals with her brother — washed-up jazz pianist Edison — and his massive weight gain.
Thursday, May 09, 2013
Lucas Mann's Class A combines baseball and sociology in this chronicle of a farm team from a fading Iowa factory town. Reviewer Heller McAlpin says Mann "uses the full tool kit of literary nonfiction" in a book that "encompasses nostalgia, hope and failure."
Wednesday, May 01, 2013
Irish novelist Edna O'Brien looks back on eight tumultuous decades in a new memoir, Country Girl. Reviewer Heller McAlpin says the book is "a generous gift to readers" but too circumspect about O'Brien's personal life — which included encounters with Samuel Beckett, Richard Burton and Paul McCartney.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
David Sedaris' latest essay collection, Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls, mixes his trademark quirky observations with less successful fictional asides in which he takes on the voices of assorted ultraconservative bad guys.