Critical Notes

New reviews and more from NBCC members

By Michael Schaub

Members and friends, we hope you’re enjoying the spring! Our members have been keeping busy with reviews of books by Maud Newton, Alex Segura, Rodney Gómez, Olga Ravn, Ashley Ward, and more, and interviews with authors like Karen Joy Fowler, Lilly Dancyger, and Elise Levine. Stay safe, and as always, thanks for reading!

Member Reviews/Essays

Carole V. Bell reviewed Kellye Garrett’s Like a Sister and Alex Segura’s Secret Identity for NPR. She also created a nonfiction list for NPR, about books at the intersection of Black feminist thought, culture, and politics, and for The Atlantic, wrote about atypical love stories in literary fiction.

Carla Main wrote about the anniversary of George Eliot’s Silas Marner for The New Criterion.

Former NBCC board member Mary Ann Gwinn reviewed Maud Newton’s Ancestor Trouble for the Los Angeles Times.

Hannah Joyner reviewed Every Good Boy Does Fine by Jeremy Denk for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

NBCC board member Rebecca Morgan Frank reviewed Rodney Gómez’s Arsenal with Praise Song for the Colorado Review.

Christoph Irmscher reviewed Ashley Ward’s The Social Life of Animals for The Wall Street Journal.

NBCC board member Jacob M. Appel reviewed Graham Guest’s Henry’s Chapel for 3:AM Magazine.

Meredith Maran wrote about how Los Angeles writers spent their pandemic for the Los Angeles Times.

Former NBCC board member Steven G. Kellman, a recipient of the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing, reviewed Jeff Deutsch’s In Praise of Good Bookstores, for the Forward.

Cory Oldweiler reviewed three novels set in the art world—Hammer by Joe Mungo Reed, Fake by Erica Katz, and Portrait of an Unknown Lady by María Gainza, translated by Thomas Bunstead, for The Washington Post.

Eric Liebetrau wrote about four must-read books that challenge white supremacy for Kirkus Reviews.

Linda Hitchcock reviewed John Searles’ Her Last Affair and Michael Arndt’s Snails & Monkey Tails for BookTrib.

John Domini had praise for Olga Ravn’s The Employees, translated by Martin Aitken, a finalist for the International Booker Prize, for The Brooklyn Rail.

Diane Scharper reviewed Muddy Matterhorn by Heather McHugh for the National Catholic Reporter.

Julia M. Klein reviewed Magda Hellinger and Maya Lee’s The Nazis Knew My Name for the Forward.

Kristen Martin reviewed Olivia Clare Friedman’s Here Lies for NPR.

Member Interviews

Grant Faulkner interviewed Lilly Dancyger for the Write-minded podcast.

On their podcast, Across the Pond, NBCC board member Lori Feathers and Sam Jordison talked to Elise Levine about her new book, Say This: Two Novellas.

NBCC Vice President/Events and Fiction Chair Jane Ciabattari’s latest Literary Hub conversation is with Karen Joy Fowler, about her new novel, Booth, which is not about John Wilkes Booth, but what a family he had.

Member News

Iris Jamahl Dunkle was interviewed by Pamela Toler about her biography about Charmian Kittredge London for Women’s History Month at History in the Margins.

Partner News

Our friends and partners at Rain Taxi are hosting an event featuring author Gregory Maguire and illustrator David Litchfield in conversation with Ann Patchett on Tuesday, March 29, at 3 pm Central. You can register for this event here.

Photo by Emily Lewis via Flickr / CC BY-NC 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.