Critical Notes

New reviews and more from NBCC members

By Michael Schaub

We hope you’re all staying safe and cool this summer! This week, our members reviewed books by Raven Leilani, Nate Marshall, Kamala Harris, Margot Livesey, Matthew Baker and more. If you’re an NBCC member and would like your work featured in Critical Notes, remember to send it to us at Thanks for reading, and take care!

Member Reviews and Essays

Carissa Chesanek reviewed Luster by Raven Leilani for PANK Magazine.

NBCC board member J. Howard Rosier reviewed Nate Marshall’s Finna for the Poetry Foundation.

Carlos Lozada, a winner of the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing and the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism, reviewed Hatemonger by Jean Guerrero and The Truths We Told by Kamala Harris for The Washington Post.

John Domini reviewed Margot Livesey’s The Boy in the Field for the Star Tribune.

Melissa Holbrook Pierson reviewed Matthew Baker’s Why Visit America for The Washington Post.

Clea Simon reviewed Ursula Hegi’s The Patron Saint of Pregnant Girls for The Boston Globe.

NBCC Vice President/Online and Technology Michael Schaub reviewed Matthew Baker’s Why Visit America for the Texas Observer and David King’s Six Days in August for the Star Tribune.

Jeff Peer reviewed Karla Cornejo Villavicencio’s The Undocumented Americans and John Washington’s The Dispossessed for Public Books.

Lanie Tankard reviewed Driftwood by Marie Brennan for The Woven Tale Press.

Ethan Chatagnier reviewed Asako Serizawa’s Inheritors for the Kenyon Review.

Jean Huets reviewed Rebecca Watson’s debut novel, Little Scratch, at Ron Slate‘s On the Seawall.  

Member Interviews

Anthony Domestico interviewed Louise Erdrich, a two-time NBCC Award for Fiction winner, for Commonweal.

Grant Faulkner talked to L.L. McKinney, the author who started the #PublishingPaidMe hashtag, on the Write-minded podcast. 

NBCC Vice President/Events Jane Ciabattari talked with Jill McCorkle for Literary Hub/BookMarks about books about exploring the past, including Thornton Wilder’s Our Town and Carson McCullers’ first novel. Also in Jane’s column: Diane Cook, whose new novel The New Wilderness has just been published (and has already been longlisted for the Booker Prize), discusses five books about wildernesses.

Jim Schley interviewed Makenna Goodman about her novel The Shame for Seven Days.

James Delmont talked to Kassandra Montag about her novel After the Flood for the Omaha Dispatch.

Member News, Etc.

NBCC Award-winning author and member Daniel Mendelsohn‘s new book, Three Rings: A Tale of Exile, Narrative, and Fate, coming from University of Virginia Press on Sept. 8, was reviewed by Kirkus and Publishers Weekly. He’s doing a series of virtual events, listed on his website. Daniel describes his time in lockdown in the Hudson Valley, near the campus of Bard College, where he teaches, in an interview by Christopher Bollen for Interview magazine. 

Connie Post’s new book, Prime Meridian, was reviewed by Kristiane Weeks-Rogers at the Harbor Review.

Clifford Garstang’s novel The Shaman of Turtle Valley was reviewed by Moazzam Sheikh in Heavy Feather Review.

Photo by Vicente via Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 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.