Critical Notes

New reviews and more from NBCC members

By Michael Schaub

The National Book Critics Circle and Orion Magazine are co-sponsoring an online event this week as part of the Brooklyn Book Festival’s Bookends series, and we’d love to see you there! “On America: Writing and Reading the Environment” will bring together Kerri Arsenault, Meehan Crist, Bathsheba Demuth, John Freeman, Emily Raboteau, and Meera Subramanian. It takes place on Thursday, Oct. 1, at 7:30 p.m. Eastern. It’s free to attend, and you can register for it here!

Member Reviews/Essays

Elizabeth Lund reviewed When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through, edited by Joy Harjo, with LeAnne Howe, Jennifer Elise Foerster, and contributing editors, for The Christian Science Monitor.

Elias Rodriques published a correspondence as a kind of obituary for Randall Kenan in Literary Hub.

Natalie Bakopoulos wrote about balconies, lament, protest, and Greece for The Common.

NBCC Vice President/Secretary Colette Bancroft reviewed Barbara Kingsolver’s How to Fly (in Ten Thousand Easy Lessons) for the Tampa Bay Times.

Priscilla Gilman reviewed Jack by Marilynne Robinson for The Boston Globe.

Jean Huets reviewed Ali Smith’s Summer for The Millions.

Julia M. Klein reviewed Deborah Tannen’s Finding My Father for The Forward.

Clea Simon reviewed David Hajdu’s Adrianne Geffel for The Boston Globe.

Carlos Lozada, a winner of the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing and the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism, reviewed Eric Alterman’s Lying in State for The Washington Post.

Oline H. Cogdill reviewed And Now She’s Gone by Rachel Howzell Hall and One by One by Ruth Ware for the Sun Sentinel, and A Deception at Thornecrest by Ashley Weaver for Shelf Awareness.

Mark Athitakis reviewed Ivan Vladislavić’s The Distance for On the Seawall.

Jenny Bhatt wrote a mini-essay about literary translation for the Craft Capsule series at Poets & Writers, and a playlist of the musical works that inspired or influenced her story collection, Each of Us Killers, for Largehearted Boy.

Sarah Boxer reviewed Lynda Barry’s Making Comics for The New York Review of Books.

Julia M. Klein reviewed Rebecca Wragg Sykes’s Kindred for SAPIENS.

W. Scott Olsen reviewed Lake Pictures by Lucinda Devlin for Frames magazine.  

Fran Hawthorne reviewed Géraldine Schwarz’s Those Who Forget for the New York Journal of Books.

Charles Green reviewed Wayne Hughes’ McTague for BlueInk Review.

During the summer, Judy Reveal reviewed books by John Lithgow, Eva Gates, David Klass, Charles Leerhsen, Michael Cannell, Anna Gerard, L.C. Shaw, Allysa Maxwell, and Sandra Tankoos for the New York Journal of Books.

Member Interviews

Carolyn Kellogg talked to Margaret Atwood about The Testaments, The Handmaid’s Tale and Aunt Lydia, and anything else she had on her mind for the Los Angeles Times.

Tom Beer interviewed Laila Lalami about Conditional Citizens: On Belonging in America for Kirkus Reviews.

Jenny Bhatt was interviewed about her short story collection, Each of Us Killers, by NBCC member Anjali Enjeti for BOMB magazine.

Shoba Viswanathan interviewed Donna Miscolta for Bloom.

Julia M. Klein interviewed Christine Montross about Waiting for an Echo for the University of Michigan Alumni Association, and interviewed the pseudonymous Erica Katz about The Boys’ Club for New Jersey Monthly.

Natalie Bakopoulos was interviewed about her new novel, Scorpionfish, by NBCC member Ilana Massad on the podcast The Other Stories and by T Hetzel on the podcast Living Writers.

David Nilsen interviewed poet Kathleen McGookey about her collection Instructions for My Imposter for On the Seawall.

Member News

Joan Frank’s new novel, The Outlook for Earthlings, will be published by Regal House Publishing on Oct. 2, and was reviewed at Cambridge Book Review. Joan will discuss her novel with NBCC Vice President/Events Jane Ciabattari on Oct. 16, 7:00 p.m. Pacific, at a Zoom event hosted by Copperfield’s Books. 

NBCC board member Rod Davis’s East of Texas, West of Hell is described as a “crime powerhouse—a maelstrom” and “a great guide through gritty Southern territory” in a new review from Publishers Weekly.

Connie Post’s new poetry collection, Prime Meridian, was reviewed at Sundress Reads.

Photo by Garry Knight via Flickr / CC BY 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.