Critical Mass

Roundup: Elizabeth McCracken, Mona Simpson, Roz Chast, the NSA Report and more

By Eric Liebetrau

Your reviews seed this roundup; please send items to Make sure to send links that do not require a subscription or username and password.


Don Waters reviews Elizabeth McCracken's Thunderstruck.

NBCC board member Jane Ciabattari reviews Mona Simpson's Casebook. In a recent BBC column, she asks, “Does Sigmund Freud still matter?” In another BBC column, Ciabattari writes about mother-daughter novelists.

“In Hotel Florida, Three Couples Chronicle The Spanish Civil War.” Maureen Corrigan explores Amanda Vaill's book.

“A Whole Lotta Soul”: Books about R&B from Robert Birnbaum.

“The Geopolitics of the Snowden Files.” Adam Morris examines The NSA Report.

NBCC board member Colette Bancroft reviews Roz Chast's excellent graphic member, Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?

Daniel Mendelsohn and Leslie Jamison discuss whether literary critics can also be good novelists.

In his latest Poetry Wire, NBCC board member David Biespiel examines how a “poem comes into being out of the violent energy of havoc.”

“Rivka Galchen Is Not Your Mommy.” Adam Kirsch reviews Galchen's new book.

In the New York Journal of Books, David Cooper reviews Aharon Appelfeld's latest novel.

For the Boston Globe, Julia M. Klein also reviews Appelfeld's novel.

Priscilla Gilman reviews Phyllis Rose's The Shelf.

Shaun Randol interviews George Prochnik about his biography on Stefan Zweig. The interview with Prochnik, along with that of Noam Chomsky, prefaced the PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature.

In the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Harvey Freedenberg reviews Michael Cunningham's latest novel.