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Tag Archive for ‘literature’

A brief look at 15 important dystopian novels

Dystopian fiction figures prominently in the work of some of the world’s best science fiction writers. With Donald Trump in the White House, and an increasingly fearful public contemplating the possibility of the disastrous consequences that might ensue, The Handmaid’s Tale has been haunting the bestseller lists for months, and other dystopian novels have selling… Read More ›

The “best Norwegian crime novel” is set in Minnesota

The Land of Dreams (Minnesota Trilogy #1), by Vidar Sundstøl @@@@ (4 out of 5) Some 4.6 million Norwegian-Americans live in the United States, about half of them in the Upper Midwest. Nearly 900,000 can be found in Minnesota alone. These numbers compare with the total of 5.3 million people who live in Norway proper…. Read More ›

A terrifying vision of the future in an award-winning young adult novel

Feed, by M. T. Anderson @@@@@ (5 out of 5) M. T. Anderson’s award-winning novel, Feed, is one of the scariest books I’ve read in many years (and it was written for teenagers!). Yet the terror it evokes emerges only slowly, as Anderson reveals, chapter by chapter, additional details that demonstrate the hopelessness of the… Read More ›

Rereading Brave New World with a would-be dictator in the White House

Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley @@@ (3 out of 5) Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World is widely regarded as one of the 20th century’s seminal works of dystopian literature. Critics today tend to group it with George Orwell’s 1984, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, and… Read More ›

The master of Louisiana noir

Cadillac Jukebox (Dave Robicheaux #9), by James Lee Burke @@@@ (4 out of 5) Veteran detective Dave Robicheaux of the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Department is reluctantly drawn into a case involving the decades-old assassination of Louisiana’s leading NAACP leader. Aaron Crown is serving time for the murder but protests his innocence, and a Hollywood film… Read More ›

An Indian novelist celebrates cricket

Selection Day: A Novel, by Aravind Adiga @@@ (3 out of 5) Aravind Adiga entered the literary world with a splash in 2008 when he won the Booker Prize for his debut novel, The White Tiger. Although I frequently find Booker Prize-winning books to be unreadable, I picked up The White Tiger, anyway. My interest… Read More ›

What? Literary critics I agree with?

I never thought I’d say this, but here it comes. I have discovered that there is, indeed, some overlap between my choices in reading and those of some of the country’s top literary critics. On December 16, the New York Times published lists of the ten top books of the year as chosen by each… Read More ›

A fascinating Chinese detective novel

A review of The Chinese Maze Murders (Judge Dee #1), by Robert van Gulik @@@@ (4 out of 5) Robert van Gulik’s series of 16 Judge Dee mysteries are set in China sometime during the era of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). They’re grounded in his intensive scholarly study of ancient Chinese detective stories, some of… Read More ›

Another winner from James Lee Burke

A review of Burning Angel (Dave Robicheaux #8), by James Lee Burke @@@@@ (5 out of 5) James Lee Burke’s Dave Robicheaux series transcends the bounds of detective fiction and deserves the title of literature. Burning Angel, the eighth book in his time-tested series, proves the point. These novels are worth reading for their prose… Read More ›

Was politics during the Great Depression really like this?

All the King’s Men, by Robert Penn Warren @@@@ (4 out of 5) Robert Penn Warren’s 1946 novel, All the King’s Men, is widely regarded as one of the best American novels ever written. Seventy years after its publication, it appears on high school and college reading lists throughout the country. Partly because of the… Read More ›