Critical Notes

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

Members and friends, we hope you’re having a great month! Our members have been keeping very busy with reviews of books by authors including Colm Tóibín, Juli Min, Leslie Jamison, Mauro Javier Cárdenas, Fine Gråbøl, and more, and interviews with writers like Diego Báez, Morgan Parker, and Sarah Ghazal Ali. Stay safe, take care, and as always, thanks for reading!

Member Reviews/Essays

Cory Oldweiler reviewed Selva Almada’s Not a River, translated by Annie McDermott, for the Southwest Review.

Former NBCC President Laurie Hertzel reviewed Long Island by Colm Tóibín and Tired Ladies Take a Stand by Gretchen Anthony for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. She also wrote about a dozen picture books for children for the Star Tribune.

Ron Slate reviewed Fog and Smoke by Katie Peterson, Forgotten on Sunday by Valerie Perrin, and In The Shadow of Fear by Nick Bunker for On The Seawall.

NBCC board member May-lee Chai reviewed the debut novel Shanghailanders by Juli Min, about a wealthy Shanghai family, whose history Min tells in reverse order, starting in 2040 and going backwards in time to 2014, for The Washington Post.

Carol Iaciofano Aucoin reviewed Alina Grabowski’s Women and Children First for WBUR’s Arts & Culture.

For On the Seawall, NBCC board member David Woo wrote about Kim Hyesoon’s Phantom Pain Wings, translated by Don Mee Choi. The book won this year’s NBCC Award for Poetry.

Meena Venkataramanan Nina Sharma’s The Way You Make Me Feel, a debut essay collection on Black and Brown love in all its beauty and complexity, for The Washington Post.

Edna Bonhomme wrote about Leslie Jamison’s Splintersfor The Nation.

Robert Rubsam reviewed Mauro Javier Cárdenas’ American Abductions for The Washington Post.

Anne Charles reviewed Wild Geese by Soula Emmanuel and Queer Then and Now: The David R. Kessler Lectures 2002-2020, edited by Debanuj Dasgupta, Joseph L.V.  Donica, and Margot Weiss for The Gay & Lesbian Review.

Diana Heald reviewed Suzanne Scanlon’s memoir Committed: On Meaning and Madwomen for the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Linda Hitchcock reviewed Elly Griffiths’ The Last Wordand Suzanne Park’s One Last Wordfor BookTrib.

George Yatchisin reviewed Kiley Reid’s Come and Get It for the California Review of Books.

Valerie Duff-Strautmann reviewed Andrea Cohen’s The Sorrow Apartments for On the Seawall.

Lee Rossi reviewed Matthew M. Monte’s All Tomorrow’s Train Rides for Rain Taxi.

Benjamin Woodard reviewed What Kingdom by Fine Gråbøl, translated by Martin Aitken, for On the Seawall.

Aiden Hunt reviewed Cindy Juyoung Ok’s Ward Towardfor On the Seawall, and wrote a review-essay on Evie Shockley’s suddenly we for Fugue.

Jay Rogoff’s extended essay-review of Jennifer Homans’ Mr. B: George Balanchine’s 20th Century has appeared in Salmagundi, nos. 222-223 (Spring-Summer 2024). 

Marcie Geffner reviewed Sasha Vasilyuk’s Your Presence Is Mandatoryfor the Washington Independent Review of Books.

Jenny Shank reviewed Miranda July’s All Fours for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Hamilton Cain reviewed Claire Messud’s This Strange Eventful Historyfor the Minneapolis Star Tribune and James Shapiro’s The Playbookfor On the Seawall, and wrote about Gary Snyder and Sylvia Plath for Alta’s California Book Club.

Nell Beram reviewed two books for Shelf Awareness: Death of an Author by E.C.R. Lorac and The Ugly History of Beautiful Things: Essays on Desire and Consumption by Katy Kelleher.

Julia M. Klein reviewed Claire Messud’s This Strange Eventful History for the Los Angeles Times.

Member Interviews

Former NBCC board member Ruben Quesada interviewed former NBCC board member Diego Báez about his new collection of poetry, Yaguareté White, for the University of Arizona Poetry Center blog. 

Tiffany Troy’s “What Was Haunting Me Was Not Myself: A Conversation with Morgan Parker” was published by the Los Angeles Review of Books. And “On Characterization and Place in Poetry: A Conversation Between Tennison Black and Tiffany Troy,” about their debut poetry collections, was published by Compulsive Reader.

Alex Gurtis interviewed Michael Wheaton for Barrelhouse.

Shara Lessley spoke with Sarah Ghazal Ali about her debut collection, Theophanies, for The Rumpus

Abby Manzella interviewed author Clare Beams about her new novel, The Garden, for CRAFT.

Anne Charles interviewed poet/scholar Judy Grahn about the revised and updated edition of her groundbreaking 1985 analysis The Highest Apple: Sappho and the Lesbian Poetic Tradition. The interview aired on the Vermont cable access show All Things LGBTQ.

Member News

Parul Kapur’s debut novel, Inside the Mirror, Winner of the AWP Prize for the Novel, was recently published by the University of Nebraska Press. Set in 1950s Bombay (Mumbai), India, the novel centers on twin sisters who aspire to become artists, violating societal taboos with devastating consequences in this inquiry into gender, power, and creativity.

Clea Simon was interviewed about her new Bad Boy Beat by Brett Milano for The ArtsFuse. Her novel was also reviewed at Kirkus, with a critic describing it as “new territory for Simon that’s definitely worth another chapter.” The new mystery was published May 7, and other reviews are still welcome.

Terese Svoboda’s speculative novel, Roxy and Coco, was listed in The New York Times as one of eight recommended new books. 

Connie Post’s chapbook Broken Metronome from Glass Lyre Press was named a finalist in the 2023 Eric Hoffer Book Awards.