Critical Notes

Wintry 2018 edition #1: Jamie Quatro, Elizabeth Strout, Elif Shafak, Joan Didion Doc

By admin

NBCC board member Anjali Enjeti reviews Jamie Quatro's Fire Sermon for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

NBCC VP/Online Jane Ciabattari's Books to Read in 2018 for BBC Culture, includes new work from NBCC finalists Amy Bloom, Lorrie Moore, Zadie Smith, and William Vollmann.Her Lit Hub column opens with a shout-out to the newly announced Story Prize finalists (including NBCC awarded authors Elizabeth Strout and Ottessa Moshfegh) and the judges for the prize, including NBCC board member Walton Muyumba.

Elizabeth Rosner has a new essay on the hierarchy of suffering in Scoundrel Time.

Julie Azzam reviews Elif Shafak's newest novel, Three Daughters of Eve, for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 

Megan Labrise interviews Neel Mukherjee about his latest novel, A State of Freedom, for Kirkus Reviews.

Lisa R. Spaar reviews a trove of continental fiction that explores loss for the New York Times Book Review .

Since October, NBCC board member Kerri Arsenault has been working as the book editor for Journal of North Atlantic and Arctic. Her library column features literature that fosters conversation about the North Atlantic and Arctic region. If you have a book you thinks she should include (old or new), let her know!

Julie R Enszer writes about Renee Vivien's poems and Samantha Pious's new translation, historicizing both in the broader context of lesbian writers and translators at

John Griswold reviews the new Joan Didion doc for Insight Higher Ed.

Joan Frank reviews Jenny Diski's The Vanishing Princess for the San Francisco Chronicle:

Tim Riley reviews Sticky Fingers, the new biography of Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner, for Truthdig.

Robert Allen Papinchak reviews John Banville's Time Pieces: A Dublin Memoir for National Book Review.

Michael Lindgren reviews a soi-disant “grooming guide”  for the Washington Post. 

Hamilton Cain reviews David Giffels' Furnishing Eternity in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and  R. Marie Griffith's Moral Combat  for Barnes and Noble Review.

Dana Wilde reviews Tom O'Vietnam, a new novel by former Maine poet laureate Baron Wormser, for the  Central Maine newspapers.

Meg Waite Clayton reviews Emily Midorikawa and Emma Clair Sweeney’s A Secret Sisterhood for the San Francisco Chronicle.

Michael Magras reviews Silence: In the Age of Noise by Erling Kagge for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Rayyan Al-Shawaf's review of The Perfect Nanny, by Leila Slimani, appears in the San Antonio Express-News. Originally published in French (as Chanson douce), the novel was awarded France's Prix Goncourt last year, and is now available in English translation.  

Alison Buckholtz reviews A Catalog of Birds by Laura Harrington in the Florida Times-Union.

Joan Gelfand reviews poetry phenom, 11-year-old Pearl Werbach, on Poetry Magazine.

Karl Wolff reviews JongwooPark: DMZ by Jongwoo Park for the New York Journal of Books:

Diane Scharper's review of The Sagrada Familia by Gus van Hensbergen appears in the January 3, 2018 issue of the National Catholic Reporter.

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.