Critical Notes / Announcements

Reviews and More From NBCC Members

By Michael Schaub

The 2024 National Book Critics Circle Awards, New School Auditorium, New York, New York, March 21, 2024. Photograph by Beowulf Sheehan

Friends, we hope you’re having a good spring! Our members have been busy this week with reviews of books by authors including Susan Page, Percival Everett, James Kaplan, Amy Tan, Alexander Sammartino, and more, and interviews with writers like Sasha Vasilyuk, Kevin Prufer, and Stacey D’Erasmo. Take care, and as always, thanks for reading!

Member Reviews/Essays

Former NBCC board member Steven G. Kellman, a recipient of the NBCC’s Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing, wrote about bylines for The Smart Set.

Genanne Walsh reviewed Elizabeth Hand’s A Haunting on the Hill, Ariel Lawhon’s The Frozen River, and Rebecca Turkewitz’s Here in the Night for The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram.

NBCC lifetime member Fran Hawthorne reviewed Days of Wonder by Caroline Leavitt for the New York Journal of Books.

Celine Nguyen reviewed Victor Heringer’s The Love of Singular Men, translated by James Young, for Asymptote.

Carole V. Bell reviewed Kellye Garrett’s Missing White Woman for The Boston Globe.

Julia M. Klein reviewed Susan Page’s The Rulebreaker for the Forward and Doris Kearns Goodwin’s An Unfinished Love Story for the Los Angeles Times

Nell Beram reviewed three books for Shelf Awareness: Dancing on the Edge: A Journey of Living, Loving, and Tumbling Through Hollywood by Russ Tamblyn; The Fixer: Moguls, Mobsters, Movie Stars, and Marilyn by Josh Young and Manfred Westphal; and The Rulebreaker: The Life and Times of Barbara Walters by Susan Page.

For Words Without Borders, Cory Oldweiler reviewed Ruth Martin’s translation of Nino Haratischvili’s Juja.

Nicole Yurcaba’s review of the Ukrainian sci-fi/fantasy anthology Embroidered Worlds was published in Ukraine’s Chytomo; she also published reviews of Mikeas Sanchez’s How to Be a Good Savage and Other Poems and Zachary Solomon’s A Brutal Design in Tupelo Quarterly

David Starkey reviewed Percival Everett’s James for the California Review of Books.

Diane Scharper reviewed The House of Doors by Tan Twan Eng for America magazine. The novel was longlisted for the 2023 Booker Prize. 

Walter Cummins reviewed James Kaplan’s 3 Shades of Blue: Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Bill Evans, and the Lost Empire of Cool for the California Review of Books.

Barbara J. King reviewed Arik Kershenbaum’s Why Animals Talk at the TLS. And for NPR, she also reviewed Amy Tan’s The Backyard Bird Chronicles and Trish O’Kane’s Birding to Change the World.

George Yatchisin reviewed Alexander Sammartino’s Last Acts for the California Review of Books.

Jim Schley reviewed Adrie Kussorow’s The Trauma Mantras: A Memoir in Prose Poems for Seven Days.

Melissa Holbrook Pierson reviewed Tommy Tomlinson’s Dogland for The Washington Post.

Robert Allen Papinchak reviewed Anne Eekhout’s Mary and the Birth of Frankenstein, translated by Laura Watkinson, for The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide.

Member Interviews

NBCC Co-Vice President/Events Jane Ciabattari’s conversation with NBCC member Sasha Vasilyuk about her first novel, Your Presence Is Mandatory, covered the family secrets that inspired the novel, and growing up in both Russia and Ukraine.

Jim Schley interviewed poet and essayist Sydney Lea, author most recently of What Shines and Such Dancing as We Can, for Seven Days.

Adam M. Lowenstein interviewed NYU Stern Professor Alison Taylor about her new book, Higher Ground, for his email newsletter, Reframe Your Inbox.

Chuck Augello interviewed Kevin Prufer about his new novel Sleepaway for Identity Theory.  

Grant Faulkner interviewed Stacey D’Erasmo about her book The Art of Intimacy and her upcoming book The Long Run: A Creative Inquiry for the Write-minded podcast.

Member News

Betsy Groban’s first book for kids, a beginning reader called Pizza for Pia, will be published on May 7 by S&S/Simon Spotlight. The illustrator is Allison Steinfeld.  

Diane Josefowicz’s story “Craft” appeared in L’Esprit, and her novella, L’Air du Temps (1985), was reviewed by Court Ludwick at Isele

Hélène Cardona read from her new book The Abduction (White Pine Press, winner of an Albertine and FACE Foundation Prize and the 2024 Independent Press Award), her translation of Franco-Syrian poet Maram Al-Masri, on April 21, on the Poetry Stage at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books.