Critical Notes

William Gass, Marisa Silver, Rebecca Miller, Mohsin Hamid & More

By Jane Ciabattari

Dallas News kvells,  book editor Michael Merschel grabs a quote from Ben Fountain re his NBCC fiction award for “Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk.”

NBCC's multitasking web manager David Varno calls William Gass's new novel, “Middle C,” “an epic and surprisingly triumphant novel about mediocrity and the fear of being found out.”

Heller McAlpin loved Marisa Silver's “Mary Coin:” “…the real triumph of Silver's novel…is its structural composition.” McAlpin's February “Reading in Common” book club pick is Mohsin Hamid's “How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia.” And for March, “Schroder.

Karen Long also reviewed Mohsin Hamid's new novel:”Somewhere, a canny business professor may be plotting to put Mohsin Hamid’s astringent new novel into an MBA course. It would be a brilliant move.”

Carolyn Kellogg writes that in “Jacob's Folly”  Rebecca Miller  “has landed on a narrative voice that's antique, comical, racy and occasionally cutting — imagine an 18th-century French rake being played by David Niven.” Maureen Corrigan's take: “It takes a gutsy writer to pad in Gregor Samsa's sticky steps, but, by now, Rebecca Miller is clearly used to coping with the anxiety of influence and staying true to her own vision.”

Dawn Raffel considers Cynthia Zarin's “An Enlarged Heart” : “One of the strongest pieces is her recollection of working at the New Yorker in the 1980s, when William Shawn was its editor. Geniuses, eccentrics, alcoholics and perfectionists might all be seen at work – or not. The inner sanctum she describes is vivid yet remote”

Oscar Villalon: What you need to know about “Middle Men,” Jim Gavin's collection of humorous yet stinging stories, is that it's the sort of book you wish people who normally don’t read would….”

Julia M. Klein reviews Ann Hood's “The Obituary Writer” for the Chicago Tribune:”…she also writes sensitively about gender roles as well as a dilemma many of us face: whether to hold out for passionate, romantic love — or to settle, for practical or social reasons, for something less.”