Posts in Reviews
Hystopia by David Means

In 1939, wondering how Russia would react to the expanding war, Winston Churchill memorably stated: It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. This is an apt description of Hystopia, David Means’s long-awaited novel about Vietnam.

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Those familiar with Donald Antrim’s whimsical, feverishly cerebral novels should brace themselves: There are no postmodern flights of fancy to be found in his memoir. The Afterlife is a grounded and, well, sober attempt to make peace with the legacy of his mother’s debilitating alcoholism, which had reached “operatically suicidal” proportions by Antrim’s thirteenth birthday. 

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Ask the Dust by John Fante

It's not often that someone grabs you by the lapels and tells you that you must, absolutely must read a particular book. Not in my experience anyway. Usually my friends' recommendations come with their fair share of disclaimers and qualifications, the sort of hedging we all engage in simply because we know that one person's dog-eared treasure is another's doorstop.

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In the Land of No Right Angles by Daphne Beal

Daphne Beal’s first book might be considered an exemplar of what Edmund White recently characterized as the “Peace Corps novel,” in which a “young, privileged American” travels to another country and is transformed by the experience. “I wanted to come home different from what I’d been—bolder, wiser, happier,” insists the narrator of In the Land of No Right Angles, recounting her peregrinations through Nepal and India.

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ReviewsRebecca DonnerBookforum
On Kate Braverman's Frantic Transmissions to and from Los Angeles

Beginning with the publication in 1979 of her startling debut, Lithium for Medea, Kate Braverman has produced a daring body of work that strips bare the myth of glitzy Los Angeles to expose its decidedly unglamorous underbelly. Like the dystopian fiction of Nathanael West and John Fante, Braverman's short stories and novels dramatize the plight of outcasts straddling fault lines, one step from ruin. 

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