Critical Notes

New reviews and more from NBCC members

By Michael Schaub

Member Reviews and Essays

Three NBCC members took on Maggie O’Farrell’s Hamnet this week: Heller McAlpin reviewed the novel for NPR, and board member Colette Bancroft shared her thoughts on the book for the Tampa Bay Times. Meanwhile, board member Lori Feathers wrote about Hamnet and the novels of O’Farrell for Literary Hub in the latest installment of her “In Context” essay series.

Former board member Carolyn Kellogg reviewed Lauren Beukes’ fun post-pandemic-dystopia Afterland for The Boston Globe.

Dean Rader reviewed Victoria Chang’s Obit for The Kenyon Review.

Clea Simon reviewed David Mitchell’s Utopia Avenue for The Arts Fuse.

Roxana Robinson wrote about the militarization of the police for Statorec.

Ron Slate reviewed Brad Fox’s To Remain Nameless for On The Seawall.

Anita Felicelli reviewed Gail Tsukiyama’s The Color of Air and Megha Majumdar’s A Burning for the San Francisco Chronicle, and Charlie Kaufman’s Antkind for the Los Angeles Review of Books

Inspired by conversations with librarian friends, Erika Dreifus wrote up some reflections on and recommendations of Jewish short stories.

Former board member Kerri Arsenault reviewed Lacy Crawford’s memoir Notes on a Silencing for The Boston Globe’s Sunday books section.

NBCC Vice President/Online Michael Schaub reviewed Yiyun Li’s Must I Go for the Star Tribune.

Charles Green reviewed Dennis Altman’s Unrequited Love: Diary of an Accidental Activist for The Gay & Lesbian Review.

Joan Frank wrote about editorializing in literary fiction for New World Writing.

Ethan Chatagnier reviewed Clare Beams’ The Illness Lesson for The Common.

Peggy Kurkowski reviewed Roger Moorehouse’s Poland 1939 for Open Letters Review.

Fran Hawthorne reviewed L. Annette Binder’s The Vanishing Sky for the New York Journal of Books.

Jeffrey Mannix reviewed House Privilege by Mike Lawson and Clean Hands by Patrick Hoffman for his Murder Ink column in the Durango Telegraph, covering Colorado and the Four Corners of the Southwest.

Julia M. Klein reviewed Daphne Merkin’s 22 Minutes of Unconditional Love for the Forward.

Ann Fabian reviewed Austen Years: A Memoir in Five Novels by Rachel Cohen for The National Book Review.

Member Interviews

Tom Beer interviewed Anne Applebaum about her new book, Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism, and spoke with Adrian Tomine about his graphic memoir, The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist, for Kirkus Reviews.

Ethan Chatagnier interviewed Mary South about her short story collection You Will Never Be Forgotten for TriQuarterly, and talked to Joe Stackseder about his story collection Make/Shift and novel Driftless Quintet for CRAFT.

Former board member Carolyn Kellogg talked to Emma Donoghue about her new novel The Pull of the Stars, set in a maternity ward during the 1918 flu pandemic, for the Los Angeles Times.

Tobias Carroll talked with Ravi Somaiya about his new book The Golden Thread for InsideHook.

Member News, Etc.

William Deresiewicz’s newest book, The Death of the Artist: How Creators Are Struggling to Survive in the Age of Billionaires and Big Tech, will be published by Henry Holt and Co. on July 28. It’s about how artists (musicians, writers, visual artists, makers of film and television) are making a living (or trying to) in the 21st-century economy.

Zack Graham’s short story “All Alone at the Top of the World,” and an interview with Zach, appeared in Newest York.

Dean Rader has a new poem up at as part of their “Letters to America” series, and a poem from his ongoing Cy Twombly project in the inaugural issue of The West Review.

Ellen Prentiss Campbell has just inaugurated “Girl Writing,” a bi-monthly blog for The Washington Independent Review of Books. The first essayette, on the naming of books, is up now.

Joan Silverman’s linked essay collection, Someday This Will Fit, was named a finalist for the 14th Annual National Indie Excellence Awards.

Connie Post’s new book, Prime Meridian, was reviewed by Amy Strauss Friedman in The Literary Review.

Photo by Joao Araujo via Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0.

SEND US YOUR STUFF: 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.