Critical Notes

Reviews and More From NBCC Members

By David Varno

Auditorium with people standing for applause Finalists stand at the start of the 2022 National Book Critics Circle Awards, New School Auditorium, New York, New York, March 23, 2023. Photograph by Beowulf Sheehan

Dear NBCC Friends,

First off, please join us in welcoming new NBCC president Heather Scott Partington. Heather joined the board of the NBCC in 2021 and distinguished herself with valuable service and excellent critical acumen as vp of the organization’s Emerging Critics program for two years and chair of the autobiography prize committee for one year. Thank you, Heather, for stepping up! 

A second note on our musical chairs: We are excited to welcome back the beloved Michael Schaub to the role of vp/online. I’ll miss the work, though I won’t be far away as I continue supporting the NBCC’s online team while diving into my new role as chair of the fiction committee. Onward we go. 

–David Varno, NBCC board member and former vp/online


Priscilla Gilman reviewed Margaret Atwood’s Old Babes in the Wood for the Boston Globe

New board member David Woo reviewed The Complete Works of W.H. Auden: Poems, VolumeI: 1927-1939 and Volume II: 1940–1973, edited by Edward Mendelson, for The Georgia Review.

For The Brooklyn Rail, Yvonne C. Garrett reviewed Kelly Link’s White Cat, Black Dog.

John Domini reviewed Teresa Svoboda’s Dog on Fire for Vol. 1 Brooklyn.

For the Boston Globe, Julie M. Klein reviewed Jennifer Rosner’s Once We Were Home.

Board member May-lee Chai reviewed Cecile Pin’s debut novel Wandering Souls for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

For the Washington Post, Erik Gleibermann reviewed Victor LaValle’s Lone Women.

Linda Hitchcock reviewed Nancy Schoenberger’s Blanche: The Life and Times of Tennessee Williams’s Greatest Creation for BookTrib.

For Blueink Review, Charles Green reviewed Keith Costelloe’s Starship Malaysia.

Hamilton Cain reviewed Jess Row’s The New Earth for the Washington Post.

For the Boston Globe, new board member Lauren LeBlanc reviewed Ellen Raskin’s The Westing Game.

Nell Beram reviewed three books for Shelf Awareness: Elizabeth Gonzalez James’ Five Conversations About Peter Sellers; Cathleen Shine’s Künstlers in Paradise; and Jenny’s Jackson’s Pineapple Street.


For Project Muse, Steven G. Kellman wrote about the life and work of the late Larry McMurtry.

Nicole Graev Lipson spoke with Sabrina Orah Mark about her memoir-in-essays Happily: A Personal History, with Fairy Tales for The Millions.

For the National Catholic Reporter, Diane Scharper talked to Sister Kathleen Feeley about her career as a college president and her latest book How Beautiful! School Sisters of Notre Dame in Africa: 1970-2020.

Tamara MC spoke with Michelle Dowd about her book Forager: Field Notes for Surviving a Family Cult for The Coachella Review.

For the Nob Hill Gazette, Paul Wilner talked to Robert Greenfield about his new biography True West: Sam Shepard’s Life, Work, and Times.

For their Across the Pond podcast, Lori Feathers and Sam Jordion talked to Todd McEwan about his memoir in movies Cary Grant’s Suit: Nine Movies that Made me the Wreck I am Today.

Grant Faulkner talked to Madeleine Lucas about the literature of longing and her new book Thirst for Salt for the Write-Minded podcast.

For the Brooklyn Rail, Kathleen Rooney spoke with John Cotter about his new book Losing Music.

Jim Ruland talked to Taylor Koekkoek about his debut story collection Thrillville, USA for the Los Angeles Times.

For Kirkus, Tom Beer spoke with Clancy Martin about his new book How Not to Kill Yourself: A Portrait of the Suicidal Mind.

Carr Harkrader talked to Daniel Wallace about his first nonfiction book The Isn’t Going to End Well: The True Story of a Man I Thought I Knew.

For their Book Cougars podcast, Chris Wolak and Emily Fine spoke with Jennifer Savran Kelly about her new novel End Papers.

Member News

Lori Feathers, lifetime member and Director of the Republic of Consciousness Prize, announced the winner of its 2022 award for small presses in the US and Canada. Click here for more information.

SEND US YOUR STUFF: To have your work featured in the weekly Critical Notes, please join the NBCC.