Criticism & Features

NBCC Reads

What Are You Recommending, Toby Barlow?


NBCC members and finalists and winners of our book award were eligible to vote in the winter edition of the NBCC’s Good Reads. We thought we might also ask the recommended authors to recommend a title. And so here’s what Toby Barlow, whose “Sharp Teeth,” was on the poetry list, had to recommend.

Michael Chabon’s “Yiddish Policeman’s Union” was a great accomplishment. Somehow he reached into a stew of imaginary history, yiddish jokes, and Alaskan atmosphere, and pulled out a powerfully strong emotional story. The solution to the mystery was even satisfying, which is rarely the case with ambitious literary potboilers. I was left stunned and smiling.

Toby Barlow is a writer who lives in downtown Detroit. His novel “Sharp Teeth” is currently available from Random House in the U.K. and from HarperCollins in the U.S.