Heller McAlpin

Heller McAlpin appears in the following:

Unquiet Minds Make Absorbing Reading In 'Imagine Me Gone'

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Adam Haslett's new novel focuses on a family tormented by father-and-son battles with chronic depression and anxiety. He captures the lasting reverberations of suicide with precision and tenderness.


One Life Changes Forever On 'Mothering Sunday'

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Graham Swift's slim, incantatory new novel centers around young Jane, a maid on a rural estate, and the day in 1924 that unexpectedly alters the trajectory of her life.


It's Love That's Important In 'The Truth About Death'

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Robert Hellenga's new collection contains nine searching, mature stories about grand passions, fleeting romantic adventures, and facing the end of life with few illusions.


Beautiful 'Breathing' Is A Nuanced Family Drama

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Elizabeth Poliner's book takes a familiar dramatic trope — the death of a child — and makes it the linchpin for an intricate tale that follows a close-knit family at a cultural turning point.


'Rodeo' Gets In Touch With The Wild, Both Inside And Out

Saturday, March 05, 2016

What would the United States be without its immigrants? Imagine no pizza, no New York City Ballet, no Saul Bellow — and no new waves of talented émigré authors helping us to see American culture from fresh angles. With his first novel, A Replacement Life, Boris Fishman (who came to ...


In A Novel Of Frustrated Young Love, Sexuality Comes To The Forefront

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Belinda McKeon's new novel takes the prize for having one of the most exquisite endings I've read in some time — but first, you have to get there. McKeon has followed her debut, Solace (which won an Irish Book Award in 2011) with a microscopically examined tale of lopsided, obsessive ...


Scouring Brazil For A Celebrated Novelist

Thursday, February 04, 2016

What's the last novel you read that revolved around a translator? I couldn't think of any, though a Google search reminded me that Dostoyevsky's Raskolnikov sometimes worked as a translator, and the narrator chasing his elusive muse in Mario Vargas Llosa's The Bad Girl was an interpreter at UNESCO.

Idra ...


'The Portable Veblen' Goes Enjoyably Nuts

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Elizabeth McKenzie's clever, romantic comedy broadcasts quirkiness right on its cover, with its potentially off-putting title and its illustration of a squirrel instead of the interlocked wedding rings you might expect. In the tradition of Elizabeth McCracken's The Giant's House and Graeme Simsion's The Rosie Project, The Portable Veblen is ...


Frisky, Subversive 'American Housewife' Practices Shock And Awwww

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Too bad there are more than 340 shopping days till Christmas, because if it were just around the corner, I'd be urging you to buy Helen Ellis' off-the-wall stories for anyone on your list who loves satirical humor as twisted as screw-top bottles — and more effervescent than the stuff ...


Glittering 'Past' Channels Chekhov

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Three sisters — and their brother — converge on their late grandparents' dilapidated cottage for what's likely to be a valedictory summer holiday together as they decide the old homestead's fate. Yes, Tessa Hadley's sixth novel is unabashedly Chekhovian. But The Past also channels those delicious English country house dramas ...


'Like Family' Rewards The Patient Reader

Thursday, December 03, 2015

There are books you need to slow down for in order to appreciate fully. Like Family, Italian physicist-turned-writer Paolo Giordano's third novel, demands to be savored. Race through this short meditation on family, marriage, and devotion – set in motion by the death of a beloved housekeeper — and you'll ...


'My Father's Guitar' Plays On Perception And Memory

Monday, November 02, 2015

I'm a sucker for charming personal essays, those seemingly casual, anecdotal confessionals in which writers essentially dine out on themselves. My favorites (Nora Ephron, David Sedaris) make light of their own foibles and shortcomings (a sagging neck, an inability to master a foreign language) in ways that both reassure their ...


Don't Take 'Submission' Lying Down

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

A recent column in the New York Times Book Review posed the question, "Whatever Happened to the Novel of Ideas?" Et voilà: Few will disagree that Michel Houellebecq's Submission, smoothly translated from the French by Paris Review editor Lorin Stein, is a novel of ideas — even though most of ...


This 'Clasp' Doesn't Quite Hold Together

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

I was a big fan of Sloane Crosley's pert personal essay collections, How Did You Get This Number and I Was Told There'd Be Cake, so I was primed to love her first novel. Billed as "part comedy of manners, part madcap treasure hunt," with a debt to Guy de ...


'M Train' Is A Poetic Journey Through Life And Loss

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Patti Smith is a survivor whose dreams prod her to "redeem the lost" by writing about them with "some sliver of personal revelation." In Just Kids, her 2010 National Book Award-winning memoir about her relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe, she rued the loss of so many friends and colleagues to drugs, ...


'Story Of My Teeth' Covers Art, Identity And Dental Adventures

Monday, September 14, 2015

Quirky doesn't begin to capture the wacky inventiveness of Valeria Luiselli's second novel. The Story of My Teeth is a playful, philosophical funhouse of a read that demonstrates that not only isn't experimental fiction dead, it needn't be deadly, either. Luiselli's elastic mind comfortably stretches to wrap itself around ...


Funny, Touching 'Bream' Has Echoes Of Steve Martin And Woody Allen

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

When he's not playing neurotic, antisocial nerds in movies like The Social Network, Jesse Eisenberg channels his jittery talent into writing clever comic plays and stories that often feature neurotic, antisocial nerds and insecure or downright delusional teens. The wonder is the empathy he brings to these jerks, losers and ...


Social Satire, Spiked With Schadenfreude In 'Everybody Rise'

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

New York Times reporter Stephanie Clifford's ambitious debut novel, Everybody Rise, about a young social climber desperately trying to claw her way to the top of New York's Old Money society, takes its title from the last lines of Stephen Sondheim's bitter toast of a song, "The Ladies Who Lunch." ...


'Two Across' Spells Out A Charming Love Story In Crosswords

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

My perennial quest for smart, fun summer reads landed me on Two Across, Jeff Bartsch's debut romantic comedy about a brainy couple whose on-again-off-again relationship begins at age 15, when they tie in the 1960 National Spelling Bee. During their recurrent off periods, they send hidden messages to each other ...


Equal Parts Sarcasm, Silliness And Smarts In 'Let's Be Less Stupid'

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Question: What do holiday shopping and staving off cognitive loss have in common?

Answer: Both are ordinarily earnest endeavors in which Patricia Marx has found unlikely sources of hilarity.

Let's Be Less Stupid: An Attempt to Maintain My Mental Faculties, like Marx's On and Off the Avenue shopping columns for ...