Critical Notes

Roundup: Rachel Cusk, Jon Krakauer, Lidia Yuknavitch, and more

By Mark Athitakis

Check out photos from the NBCC/Zyzzyva event celebrating Bay Area literary institutions and Maxine Hong Kingston.

Balakian Citation recipient Alexandra Schwartz reviews Rachel Cusk’s novel Outline for the Nation.

Anne Payne reviews Martin Edwards’ study of British crime writers, The Golden Age of Murder, for the Florida Times-Union.

Barbara Spindel reviews A. Brad Schwartz’s Broadcast Hysteria: Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds and the Art of Fake News for the Daily Beast and Rosemarie Ostler’s Founding Grammars: How Early America’s War Over Words Shaped Today’s Language for the Barnes & Noble Review.

Bill Williams reviews Jon Krakauer’s Missoula for the Palm Beach ArtsPaper.

Elizabeth Rosner reviews Janis Cooke Newman’s novel A Master Plan for Rescue for the San Francisco Chronicle.

Fred Volkmer reviews Elena Gorokhova’s memoir Russian Tattoo for the East Hampton Press.

Gerald Bartell reviews S.K. Tremayne’s thriller The Ice Twins for the Washington Post and interviews Fast Shuffle novelist David Black for Kirkus Reviews.

Gina Webb reviews Ann Pancake’s story collection Me and My Daddy Listen to Bob Marley and Cynthia Barnett’s Rain: A Natural and Cultural History for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Grace Bello profiles YA graphic novelist Becky Cloonan for Publishers Weekly.

Heller McAlpin reviews Jonathan Kozol’s memoir The Theft of Memory for the Washington Post.

Jim Carmin reviews Lidia Yuknavitch’s novel The Small Backs of Children for the Oregonian.

Julia M. Klein reviews David K. Shipler’s Freedom of Speech for the Columbia Journalism Review and Robin Kirman’s novel Bradstreet Gate for the Boston Globe.

Karl Wolff reviews Nikolas Schreck’s The Manson File for the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography.

Balakian Citation recipient and NBCC board member Katherine A. Powers rounds up five new audiobooks for the Washington Post; reviews Amanda Coe’s novel The Love She Left Behind, two summer reads, and a pair of baseball books for the Barnes & Noble Review; and reviews Ernst Lothar’s The Vienna Melody for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Lori Feathers reviews Octave Mirbeau’s novel Twenty-One Days of a Neurastenic for Three Percent.

NBCC board member Mark Athitakis explores Willa Cather’s trip to Arizona that inspired her novel The Song of the Lark in Humanities.

NBCC board member Mary Ann Gwinn interviews The Cartel author Don Winslow for the Seattle Times.

Megan Labrise interviews The Star Side of Bird Hill novelist Naomi Jackson and Viral short story writer Emily Mitchell for Kirkus Reviews.

Michael Lindgren reviews story collections by Thomas McGuane, Alberto Urrea, and Graham Swift for the Washington Post.

Michael Upchurch reviews Mark Haskell Smith’s Naked at Lunch for the Oregonian, as well as Jim Shepard’s The Book of Aron and Charles Kaiser’s The Cost of Courage for the Seattle Times.

Michael Magras reviews Louisa Hall’s novel Speak for BookPage.

Philip Graham writes about emotional wounds and how they’re revealed in the works of James Baldwin, John Gardner, and Rabih Alameddine in the Millions.

Piali Roy reviews Nadia Hashimi’s When the Moon Is Low for the Toronto Star.

Steven G. Kellman reviews Milan Kundera’s novel The Festival of Insignificance for the San Francisco Chronicle.

Your reviews and recommendations help seed these roundups: If you’re an NBCC member with a review you’d like considered for inclusion, please email