Critical Notes

Reviews and More From NBCC Members

By David Varno

Watercolor with book, shoe, and herring

Dates to save! The finalists for the 2022 NBCC awards will be announced during a virtual event on 1/31. The awards ceremony–live and in person!–will follow on 3/23. We couldn’t be more excited to finally return to our regular programming and celebrate together. 
Galley Bag
 I’m a sucker for novels about uneasy hometown ties (Nichols Mathieu’s And Their Children After Them remains a recent favorite), so Michael Magee’s Close to Home (FSG, May) has special appeal. In Publishers Weekly’s recent feature on notable spring debuts, Magee talks about how the novel grew out of a long letter to a friend.

Historical fiction tends to be a heavier lift for me, but nonetheless I can’t wait to crack Alice Winn’s In Memoriam (Knopf, Mar.), about two friends at an English boarding school who enlist in WWI; and am also intrigued by Sophie Mackintosh’s Cursed Bread (Doubleday, Apr.), a spare approach to a mysterious post-WWII episode in a small French village.
–David Varno, NBCC VP/Online
Hillary Kelley reviewed Brigitta Oluba’s Shirley Hazzard bio for the New Republic
Michael Sims reviewed Bethany Brookshire’s surprising and smart book Pests: How Humans Create Animal Villains for the Washington Post.
Daneet Steffans reviewed Laura Zigman’s Small World for the Boston Globe. Carol Iaciofano Aucoin also reviewed the novel for WBUR’s Arts & Culture.
Jenny Shank reviewed Sam by Allegra Goodman for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Christoph Irmscher reviewed Robert Richardson’s Three Roads Back: How Emerson, Thoreau, and William James Responded to the Greatest Losses of Their Lives (Princeton) for the Wall Street Journal.
Hamilton Cain reviewed Stephen Markley’s The Deluge for The New York Times Book Review and Robert Kagan’s The Ghost at the Feast for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Board member Mandana Chaffa wrote a round-up of poetry books for the Chicago Review of Books and reviewed Nathan Vardi’s For Blood and Money: Billionaires, Biotech, and the Quest for a Blockbuster Drug for Scientific American.
Julie R. Enszer reviewed Hilary Holladay’s The Power of Adrienne Rich and Ed Pavlić’s Outward: Adrienne Rich’s Expanding Solitudes for the Georgia Review.
Eric Liebetrau previewed 10 nonfiction books for Kirkus.
Oline H Cogdill reviewed Code 6 by James Grippando and A Heart Full of Headstones by Ian Rankin, plus two Charlie Parker Novels by John Connolly for the Sun Sentinel
Sarah Johnson reviewed Paul Harding’s This Other Eden for Booklist.
Fran Hawthorne reviewed The Hunter by Jennifer Herrera for the New York Journal of Books.
Heller McAlpin reviewed Janet Malcolm’s oblique shots of her life, Still Picturesfor NPR.
Alex Gurtis reviewed Mike Nagel’s Duplex for Olit.

Anita Felicelli reviewed Jaime Hernandez’s Maggie the Mechanic, a Love and Rockets comic, for Alta’s California Book Club. Also at Alta, Gary Groth published an essay about discovering the serie.Lee Rossi reviewed The Stan Poems: Indictments and Amendments by Linda Ravenswood for Pedestal.       
Angela Ajayi reviewed Fatin Abbas’ debut novel Ghost Season for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
For the LA Times, Jim Ruland talked to novelist Jordan Harper about the neo-noir thriller Everybody Knows.
Ellen Birkett Morris talks with Joan Frank for Authorlink about the novel Juniper Street.
Grace Talusam interviewed Monica Macansantos for The Rumpus.
Board member Lori Feathers and Sam Jordison talked to Selby Wynn Schwartz about her 2022 Booker-longlisted novel After Sappho, a fictionalized account of the legendary poet Sappho and how her life and writing inspired generations of feminist artists, for the Across the Pond podcast.

Anita Felicelli talked with a cofounder of Boxwalla about its new American Fiction series curated by Alexander Chee.
For Lit Hub, VP/Events Jane Ciabattari talked with NBCC member Susanne Pari about Iran’s history of feminist rebellion, the background for her new novel In the Time of Our Time
Member News
Roberto Garcia will launch his poetry collection What Can I Tell You? at Brooklyn Poets on Saturday, February 4th, at 6PM
Partner News

This year’s finalists for the Story Prize include Andrea Barrett, Ling Ma, and Morgan Talty. Judging the prize are Adam Dalva, Danielle Evans, and Miwa Messer.

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Shoe, Herring, and Book, watercolor by George Loring Brown, 1833