Heller McAlpin

Heller McAlpin appears in the following:

'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.


'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.


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.


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.


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.