Critical Notes

Hanya Yanagihara, Caryl Phillips, Kevin Sessums, Roz Chast, and more

By Eric Liebetrau

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The 2014 NBCC Awards were given out last Thursday night. Read our reviews of each finalist.


Marion Winik reviews “A Little Life” by Hanya Yanagihara.

“Should an Author’s Intentions Matter?” Zoë Heller and Adam Kirsch debate whether an author’s intended meanings matter more than a reader’s interpretations.

Linda Simon reviews “The Lost Child” by Caryl Phillips.

“1965: 12 Months That Shook the World,” reviewed by George de Stefano.

Julia M. Klein reviews Kevin Sessums' memoir, “I Left It on the Mountain” for Columbia Journalism Review.

In the Washington Post, Michael Lindgren looks at the NBCC award winners.

Daniel Mendelsohn asks, “Who was Sappho?”

Heller McAlpin reviews JC Hallman’s “B&Me.” She also reviews George Hodgman’s “Bettyville.”

Rayyan Al-Shawaf reviews Daphne Merkin's essay collection “The Fame Lunches.” He also reviews “The Tusk that Did the Damage,” by Tania James.

Morris Dickstein's new book, “Why Not Say What Happened?” reviewed in the New Yorker. Dickstein also received a review in the New York Times.

For her BBC Culture Between the Lines column, NBCC board member Jane Ciabattari picks the greatest year for literature ever.

Kerri Arsenault interviews 2014 NBCC Autobiography Award winner Roz Chast.

David Ulin examines what “City of Quartz” means for Los Angeles 25 years later.

Randon Billings Noble reviews “Ongoingness: The End of a Diary” for the A.V. Club.