Critical Notes

Roundup 25

By Bethanne Patrick

Today Critical Mass launches a new roundup series featuring the work of NBCC members and curated by NBCC member Bethanne Patrick. Links to member reviews will be posted here, on our Facebook page, and on the NBCC Twitter feed. (To submit, send links to Bethanne Patrick,

Colette Bancroft, St. Petersburg Times Book Editor, reviews Solar by Ian McEwan:
“McEwan is, as always, utterly in control of his story in Solar, placing his revelations and twists for greatest impact.”

Next, Stephen Burt’s poem “Chlorophyll” was featured in the London Review of Books on the week of April 6:

All nature seems to be at work
Reluctantly, as Friday's anxious
Managers, both desultory and eager
To clear their stacked-up paper out of the way,
Go home.  Do not start anything today.
Pay less attention to politics. Wrap it all up.

Julia M. Klein covers The Lake Shore Limited, Sue Miller’s latest novel, for the LA Times:
“Miller's baby-boomer characters have traversed a long arc of disappointment, from the youthful idealism of the 1970s to the compromises of middle age. Instead of politics itself, Miller has taken as her subject the politics of relationships and the human-scale disasters that flawed men and women inflict on one another.”

On his blog, John Riutta considers E.O. Wilson’s novel Anthill:
“There is an old Latin proverb that proclaims natura in minima maxima, which translates as “nature is the greatest in the smallest things.” It is a message Dr. Wilson conveys with particular effectiveness in the novel within the novel entitled ‘The Anthill Chronicles.’”

In The Kansas City Star, Jeffrey Ann Goudie takes on Anne Lamott’s latest book, a novel titled Imperfect Birds:
“In Lamott’s novel, parents construct fragile, twiggy nests their children are increasingly eager to flee. In addition, Lamott offers a textured look at the nests of friendship and of marital life. Elizabeth and James have a loving marriage that bears the strains of Rosie’s acting-out, as well as their own individual needs and neediness.”

NBCC member Bethanne Patrick is the Managing Editor of The WETA Book Studio (<a href=""></a>) and tweets as The Book Maven.