Critical Notes

October Launches, Jennifer Egan, Jonathan Eig, Sally Rooney & More

By Jane Ciabattari

Member reviews and interviews:

Jennifer Egan, who earned the NBCC Fiction Award for her novel A Visit from the Goon Squad,  has a new novel out this month. Priscilla Gilman reviewed Manhattan Beach for the Boston Globe. Eileen Weiner reviewed it for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 10/1/17

NBCC board member and Minneapolis Star-Tribune senior editor for books Laurie Hertzel interviewed “Five Under 35” winner Lesley Nneka Arimah about the honor.  She also wrote her weekly column pondering which books to save in the event of a hurricane or other natural disaster. (An unthinkable question!) And she reviewed Jonathan Eig's biography, “Ali: A Life,” for the Star Tribune.

David Varno has new reviews up, including Rodrigo Hasbún’s Affections, in Words Without Borders, and Juan Villoro's The Reef, in the Brooklyn Rail

NBCC board member Kerri Arsenault interviews new FSG Vice President, Colin Dickerman, on Lithub, for her column “Interview with a Gatekeeper.” She also reviews Inara Verzemnieks’s book, Among the Living and the Dead: A Tale of Exile and Homecoming on the War Roads of Europe, for the Brooklyn Rail.

Gail Pool's essay, “The Case for Classics,” was published by WBUR's Cognoscenti.

New NBCC member Alison Buckholtz reviews two novels for the Florida Times-Union: Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney amd Elif Batuman's The Idiot. She also reviewed the poetry collection Dots & Dashes by Jehanne Dubrow for the Military Spouse Book Review.

Kai Maristed reviewed Peter Stamm's To The Back of Beyond for The Arts Fuse.

Patti Jazanoski reviews Thi Bui’s The Best We Could Do for Consquence Magazine.

Other News:

Jack Sullivan ( an NBCC  member since 1978)  has a new book, New Orleans Remix, from University Press of Mississippi, coming in October. Based on dozens of interviews and archives, this book covers the contemporary music scene in New Orleans, a city which since the 1990s has experienced its greatest renaissance since the Louis Armstrong era. The focus is jazz, but the book also includes opera, brass band, funk, zydeco, and much else.

Shenandoah awarded Philip Belcher the Carter Prize for the Essay for “Beyond Autobiography: Claudia Emerson through Three Poems on Race” in Vol. 66, no. 1.

NBCC Balakian award winner  (and former board member) Parul Sehgal describes her new role as NYTimes book critic.

NBCC members note: Your reviews seed this roundup; please send items, including news about your new publications and recent honors, to With reviews, please include title of book and author, as well as name of publication. Make sure to send links that do not require a subscription or username and password.​ We love dedicated URLs. We do not love hyperlinks.