Critical Notes

Philip Roth, Chinua Achebe, Aleksandar Hemon & More

By Jane Ciabattari

Chinua Achebe's death last week brought to mind PEN American Center's celebration of the author's work, as recalled by David Ulin.

Among the Philip Roth birthday notices, Steve Kellman's “Four Score and Philip Roth” in Tablet:  “Growing old is easy. It's staying old that is a mortal challenge.”

Julia M. Klein reviews NBCC fiction finalist Aleksandar Hemon's autobiographical essay collection, “The Book of My Lives,” for the Chicago Tribune. “Admirers of Hemon's fiction will welcome the avowed factuality of 'The Book of My Lives' for the additional insight it offers into the author's backstory and motivations.”Rayyan Al-Shawaf's take on Hemon for the Chicago Reader.  Klein's take on  the 50th anniversary edition of “The Feminine Mystique” for the Nation.

Paul Wilner considers Larry Beckett's beat poetry for Zyzzyva: “The author is eager to avoid the obvious.”

Sandrof winner Joyce Carol Oates tells Jane Ciabattari about her new Gothic novel set at Princeton, when Woodrow Wilson was president. 

George de Stefano reviews “The Story of My Purity” for the New York Journal of Books.

New NBCC member Alex Estes' take on William Gass's new novel “Middle C.”