Critical Notes

New reviews and more from NBCC members

By Michael Schaub

Our members have been busy over the past week, reviewing books by J. Courtney Sullivan, Roddy Doyle, Jay Parini, Jill Watts and more, and interviewing writers like Kevin Kwan and Marianne Chan. One of our members even released an album that you’re definitely going to want to listen to. Remember to send your news to us at, and please stay home and stay safe!

Member Reviews

Priscilla Gilman reviewed J. Courtney Sullivan’s Friends and Strangers for The Boston Globe

Joseph Peschel reviewed Roddy Doyle’s Love for The Boston Globe and James Shapiro’s Shakespeare in a Divided America for The Christian Science Monitor.

Hélène Cardona reviewed Andrés Neuman’s Fracture for World Literature Today.

Jenny Shank reviewed Lacy Crawford’s Notes on a Silencing for the Star Tribune.

Ron Slate reviewed Rachel Eliza Griffiths’s Seeing The Body for On The Seawall.

Peggy Kurkowski reviewed Jill Watts’s The Black Cabinet: The Untold Story of African Americans and Politics During the Age of Roosevelt for Open Letters Review.

Fran Hawthorne reviewed Brian Castleberry’s Nine Shiny Objects for the New York Journal of Books.

Michael Sandlin reviewed Peter Andreas’s Killer High: A History of War in Six Drugs for Reason magazine.

Steve Paul reviewed Jay Parini’s Borges and Me and for Booklist and Chris Warren’s Ernest Hemingway in the Yellowstone High Country for The Hemingway Review.

Jim Scott reviewed Erik Larson’s The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family and Defiance During the Blitz for the Wellington Square Books website.

Sarah Haas reviewed Marguerite Duras’s Me & Other Writing for The Rumpus.

Member Interviews

Tom Beer interviewed Kevin Kwan about his new novel, Sex and Vanity, for Kirkus

Kathleen Rooney interviewed Zoe Hitzig for the Poetry Foundation.

Sarah Haas interviewed Marianne Chan about her book All Heathens for The Rumpus.

Ellen Prentiss Campbell interviewed Ginger Eager about her debut novel, The Nature of Remains, for the Fiction Writers Review.

Jim Ruland interviewed Ben Ehrenreich about his book Desert Notebooks for the Los Angeles Times.

Member News, Etc.

Meg Waite Clayton‘s The Last Train to London debuted at #11 on the Publishers Weekly trade paperback fiction and nonfiction combined bestseller list.

Katherine Hill’s new novel, A Short Move, was reviewed at The New York Times Book Review.

Former NBCC Emerging Critic Jonathan Leal and South Texas music producer Charlie Vela released a new multimedia album entitled Futuro Conjunto. The album, which was supported by a Stanford University Community Engagement Grant, is an original work of Chicanxfuturism that turns to speculative fiction, contemporary U.S.-Mexico border culture, and underground DIY punk aesthetics to imagine a possible future in and for the Rio Grande Valley. It is available to all audiences for free here.

Hélène Cardona’s recent translation of José Manuel Cardona’s Birnam Wood is included in Latino Life’s reading list of bilingual poetry.

Photo of El Ateneo in Buenos Aires by Hernán Piñera via Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0.