Critical Notes

New reviews and more from the NBCC

By Carolyn Kellogg

NBCC friends and members: Now is the time to order your tickets for the post-awards celebration! It’s March 12 in New York City directly after our awards ceremony, and is our annual fundraiser. With drinks and snacks!

NBCC board member Lori Feathers interviewed Scarlett Thomas about her new novel, Oligarchy, for LitHub.

Kathleen Rooney reviewed Michael Zapata’s The Lost Book of Adana Moreau for the Chicago Tribune.

Roxana Robinson wrote about Virginia Woolf for The New Yorker.

Kamil Ahsan reviewed Lidia Yuknavitch’s short story collection Verge for NPR.

Priscilla Gilman reviewed Weather by Jenny Offill for the Boston Globe.

Julia M. Klein reviewed Eilene Zimmerman’s Smacked for the Boston Globe.

Clea Simon reviewed Daniel Kehlmann’s Tyll for the Boston Globe.

Pat Hagen reviewed The Professor and the Parson by Adam Sisman for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Claude Peck reviewed The Scientist and the Spy by Mara Hvistendahl for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Scott McLemee wrote a remembrance of critic George Steiner at Inside Higher Ed.

Joe Peschel reviewed Paul Yoon’s Run Me To Earth for the Brooklyn Rail.

Laurie Stone reviewed Hannah Sullivan’s Three Poems in The Women’s Review of Books.

Oline H Cogdill reviewed The Good Killer by Harry Dolan for the Associated Press and The Other Mrs. by Mary Kubica for the Sun-Sentinel.

Sarah Neilson spoke with poet Danez Smith about their latest collection, Homie, for Adroit Journal. At Seattle Times, she reviewed Melissa Anne Peterson’s Vera Violet and Emma Copley Eisenberg’s The Third Rainbow Girl.

Paul Wilner reviewed Conversations with William T. Vollmann, edited
by Daniel Lukes for ZYZZYVA.

Jeffrey Mannix reviewed Perfect Little Children by Sophie Hannah for the Durango Telegraph.

K.L. Romo reviewed Sophie Hannah’s Perfect Little Children for the  Washington Independent Review of Books and reviewed two books for The Big Thrill Magazine,  Within Plain Sight by Bruce Robert Coffin and Last Day by Luanne Rice.

Robert Allen Papinchak reviewed Clare Beams’s The Illness Lesson for the Washington Independent Review of Books.

Michelle Newby Lancaster reviewed We, the Wildflowers by L.B. Simmons for Lone Star Literary Life.

Fran Hawthorne reviewed The Light after the War by Anita Abriel for the New York Journal of Books.

Michael J. McCann reviewed Sanctuary by Luca D’Andrea for the New York Journal of Books.

Laura Wetherington reviewed Experiments in Joy by Gabrielle Civil for Full Stop.

Jessica Smith reviewed Emily Jungmin Yoon’s A Cruelty Special to Our Species from 2018 for FENCE Digital/Constant Critic.


Smith’s own poetry collection, How to Know the Flowers, was reviewed in The Rumpus.

Wetherington’s second book of poetry, Parallel Resting Places, was selected by Peter Gizzi for the New Measure Poetry Prize.

Terese Svoboda’s poem “Shame Helps” appears in the February issue of Poetry magazine.

Katharine Coldiron’s debut novella, Ceremonials is out now from Kernpunkt Press.

Joan Frank discussed her book Where You’re All Going: Four Novellas with the podcast A Novel Idea, which airs on KRCB-FM Radio.

Christoph Irmscher wrote about the photography of Mark Roemisch in Od Review.

NBCC members: Send us your stuff! Your work may be highlighted in this roundup; please send links to new reviews, features and other literary pieces, or tell us about awards, honors or new and forthcoming books, by dropping a line to Be sure to include the link to your work.

Image: from Our Living World, 1885, one of 150,000 botanical illustration images in the public domain made available online by the Biodiversity Heritage Library.