Critical Notes

Reviews and More From NBCC Members

By Michael Schaub

The 2022 National Book Critics Circle Awards, New School Auditorium, New York, New York, March 23, 2023. Photograph by Beowulf Sheehan

We hope you’re all staying safe and cool this summer! This past week, our members have been busy reviewing books by authors including Lauren Beukes, Yunte Huang, Paul Murray, Dwight Garner, and Lydia Kiesling, and interviewing writers like Candace Williams, Teju Cole, Ben Fountain, and Naomi Hirahara. Take care, and as always, thanks for reading!

Member Reviews/Essays

Daneet Steffens reviewed Lauren Beukes’ Bridgeand William Boyd’s The Romanticfor The Boston Globe.

Shelley Frisch wrote a piece in celebration of Women in Translation Month for the Princeton University Press website.

Julia Flynn Siler reviewed Yunte Huang’s Daughter of the Dragon for The Wall Street Journal.

Linda Hitchcock reviewed Howard Blum’s The Spy Who Knew Too Muchfor BookTrib.

NBCC board member May-lee Chai reviewed three memoirsThis Country: Searching for Home in (Very) Rural America by Navied Mahdavian; Birding While Indian by Thomas C. Gannon; and Chinese Prodigal by David Shih—for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Hamilton Cain reviewed Paul Murray’s The Bee Stingfor the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Three NBCC members contributed to California Review of Books: George Yatshisin reviewed Alex Prud’homme’s Dinner with the President; David Starkey reviewed Sebastian Barry’s Old God’s Time; and Brian Tanguay reviewed Isabel Allende’s The Wind Knows My Name and John Perlin’s A Forest Journey.

Jay Gabler reviewed Kate Flannery’s Strip Tees and the 40th anniversary reissue of Jackie Collins’ Hollywood Wives for The Tangential.

Ellen Prentiss Campbell’s latest “Girl Writing” column for Washington Independent Review of Books is about stumbling upon some literary statues in Norway.

For The Red Hook Star-Revue, Michael Quinn reviewed J. C. Leyendecker: American Imagist, by Judy Goffman Cutler and Laurence S. Cutler.

Nell Beram reviewed four books for Shelf Awareness: Abbey Road: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Famous Recording Studio by David Hepworth; Kick Out the Jams: Jibes, Barbs, Tributes, and Rallying Cries from 35 Years of Music Writing by Dave Marsh; Shy: The Alarmingly Outspoken Memoirs of Mary Rodgers by Mary Rodgers and Jesse Green; and The Upstairs Delicatessen: On Eating, Reading, Reading about Eating, and Eating While Reading by Dwight Garner.

Hannah Joyner reviewed The Marriage Question: George Eliot’s Double Life by Clare Carlisle for Open Letters Review.

Claude Peck reviewed Swim Home to the Vanished, a debut novel by Diné writer Brenda Shay Basham, for the Minneapolis Star Tribune

Tobias Carroll wrote about Paul Tremblay’s The Beast You Are for and reviewed Gillian Burnes’s Soft Features for the Portland Press Herald.

NBCC Vice President/Emerging Critics Fellowship and Online Michael Schaub reviewed Lydia Kiesling’s Mobilityfor Alta.

Member Interviews

Clea Simon interviewed Sally Jacobs (Althea: The Life of Tennis Champion Althea Gibson) for The Boston Globe.

Mandana Chaffa, NBCC board member and Vice President of the Barrios Book in Translation Prize, interviewed Candace Williams about their collection I Am The Most Dangerous Thing for Electric Literature.

Tyler Mills published a critical dialogue with Jennifer Franklin (If Some God Shakes Your House) in On the Seawall.

Elaine Szewczyk profiled Nigerian American author and photographer Teju Cole for Publishers Weekly. Cole’s new novel, Tremor, will be out this fall.

Erik Gleibermann interviewed Nicole Sealey about The Ferguson Report: An Erasure for Poets & Writers.

Hamilton Cain wrote a profile of Ben Fountain, author of the forthcoming Devil Makes Three, for Publishers Weekly.

NBCC board member Lauren LeBlanc wrote a profile of Jenn Shapland (Thin Skin) for Poets & Writers.

At InsideHook, Tobias Carroll interviewed Alexander Stille about The Sullivanians and Jesse Rifkin about This Must Be the Place.

For the podcast The Lives of the Writers, Jeff Alessandrelli recently interviewed Brandon Shimoda. Other recent The Lives of the Writers interviews by Alessandrelli include Eileen Myles, Nazli Koca, and Arda Collins.    

Jay Gabler interviewed Erik Kojola, author of Mining the Heartland, for the Duluth News Tribune.

NBCC Vice President/Emerging Critics Fellowship and Online Michael Schaub interviewed Edan Lepucki (Time’s Mouth) and Naomi Hirahara (Evergreen) for the Orange County Register.

Member News

NBCC lifetime member Greg Sarris, Chairman of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, who has a Ph.D. in Modern Thought and Literature from Stanford, has been appointed to the University of California Board of Regents.

Amy Yee’s nonfiction/literary journalism book about Tibean refugees in India and beyond, Far from the Rooftop of the World, will be published on October 17. The Dalai Lama wrote the foreword. Peter Hessler, New Yorker writer, MacArthur Fellow, and National Book Award finalist, wrote: “Beautifully observed, with full-bodied, engaging characters who are never lost in the shadow of Chinese politics. Amy Yee has done a wonderful job of capturing the details, dramas, and dignities of Tibetan life in exile.”