Heller McAlpin

Heller McAlpin appears in the following:

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

Monday, November 02, 2015

Joseph Skibell's new collection of personal essays is full of offbeat life lessons, moving from whimsy to weight. And, as he puts it, though the stories are true, they're full of "imaginary things."


Don't Take 'Submission' Lying Down

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Michel Houellebecq's dark satire Submission caused a furore in his native France with its depiction of an Islamist takeover. But critic Heller McAlpin calls it "too distasteful to be amusing."


This 'Clasp' Doesn't Quite Hold Together

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Sloane Crosley's new novel, The Clasp, follows a group of disaffected 30-somethings who gather for a classmate's posh wedding — but the casual misanthropy of the characters dims the book's pleasures.


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

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Patti Smith's new memoir is a dreamy, elegiac recollection of loved ones gone too soon, energized by her interests and travels. It jumps in time, from her husband's death in 1994 to Hurricane Sandy.


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

Monday, September 14, 2015

Critic Heller McAlpin calls Valeria Luiselli's novel a "philosophical funhouse" that melds the story of a charming auctioneer with meditations on the value of objects and the power of story.


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

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Jesse Eisenberg specializes in playing (and writing about) jittery, antisocial nerds. Critic Heller McAlpin says the wonder is the empathy he brings to the sad sacks in his new story collection.


Social Satire, Spiked With Schadenfreude In 'Everybody Rise'

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Stephanie Clifford's debut novel, about the desperate social strivings of a young woman in Manhattan, has its roots in the tragic, old-money fascinations of Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth.


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

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Jeff Bartsch's new novel is about a brainy couple who, after meeting at a 1960s spelling bee, conduct their troubled love affair through secret clues in the crosswords they compose for newspapers.


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

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Patricia Marx's comic memoir chronicles her four-month attempt to boost her brainpower. Critic Heller McAlpin says anyone clever enough to have written this book shouldn't worry about her brain.


Too Much 'Word,' Not Enough 'Nerd' In This Scrabble Story

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Professional Scrabble fan John D. Williams' new memoir is chock full of interesting tidbits (like lists of important words with Q, X and J) but gets bogged down in tedious biographical detail.


Mama's Still Alive Today: 'Meursault' Investigates A Literary Murder

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

In The Stranger, Albert Camus' antihero Meursault famously killed a nameless Arab; Algerian writer Kamel Daoud's new novel reworks Camus from the point of view of the murdered man's brother.


Coping With Calamity In Shimmering 'Cathedral'

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

The aging characters in Kate Walbert's new novel are learning to go with the flow as waters rise and life takes strange turns. Critic Heller McAlpin praises Walbert's ability to capture women's lives.


Dennis Hastert Pleads Not Guilty At Chicago Arraignment

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

The former House speaker was indicted by a federal grand jury over charges that he lied to the FBI about paying hush money over his "past misconduct."


You'll Be Caught Fast By This Delightful 'Fly Trap'

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Fredrik Sjöberg's wry memoir celebrates the beauty of limitations, tiny wonders and intense focus; in Sjöberg's case, a focus on the hoverflies he studies on his home island of Runmarö in Sweden.


Remembering A Troubled Brother In 'Lord Fear'

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Lucas Mann's new memoir pieces together family memories to create a portrait of his heroin-addicted older brother, who died of an overdose. Critic Heller McAlpin calls it difficult but necessary.


'I Take You' Is Madcap Marital Mayhem

Monday, May 04, 2015

Eliza Kennedy's snappy new novel follows Lily Wilder, a high-powered litigator conflicted about her upcoming wedding because she's having too much fun with sex, booze and work to settle down.


What Luck! 'Early Warning' Continues Smiley's Farm Family Saga

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Readers eager to catch up with the Iowa farming family Jane Smiley introduced in Some Luck will enjoy the latest installment, which follows the five children off the farm and into the postwar era.


Memoir, Perfectly Punctuated In 'Between You & Me'

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

New Yorker copy editor Mary Norris' new book is part life story, part grammar guide. Reviewer Heller McAlpin says the book is delightful, and Norris is a "stickler who can't resist schtick."


'B & Me' Is Intelligent, Immoderate, And A Bit Belabored

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

J.C. Hallman's audacious account of his engagement with the erotic writing of Nicholson Baker makes a splash, but critic Heller McAlpin says the book sometimes runs aground in self-indulgence.


A Life Examined — And Examined And Examined In 'Ongoingness'

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Writer Sarah Manguso has been a compulsive diarist since childhood; her new memoir documents the ways motherhood has changed her writing. Critic Heller McAlpin says it's full of lovely observations.