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Mo Yan's 'Pow!' packs a punch, however veiled

Mo Yan

The Nobel laureate probably can't criticize his government outright, but his tale of corrupt capitalist communism in Slaughterhouse Village is zingy.Pow!


Book review: ‘Astray,’ by Emma Donoghue, author of ‘Room’

The historical short stories in Emma Donoghue’s new collection, “Astray,” wander across centuries and continents, but they actually don’t stray far from this Irish-born writer’s preoccupations with captivity, sexual predation, prostitution and the grip of parenting.


Book Review: ‘The Redgraves’

Although the least known of them today, Michael Redgrave was one of that great quartet of actors who dominated the English stage in the middle of the past century, the others being Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud and Ralph Richardson.


‘In the Kingdom of Men,’ by Kim Barnes

In the Kingdom of Men

In Kim Barnes’s unusual new novel, “a bare-foot girl from red-dirt Oklahoma” tells us the events of her (so far, very short) life story. Gin grows up in Oklahoma, among the poorest of the poor. She is raised by her fire-and-brimstone grandfather, who firmly believes that women are vessels of sin. Her mother has come to a bad end, and the only emotional weapons Gin carries are a generous heart and a mindless defiance, a refusal to be looked down upon by anyone.


‘Four New Messages,’ Joshua Cohen’s New Story Collection

The stories in Joshua Cohen’s “Four New Messages” are about a lot of things: sex, family, disappointment, literary frustration — the pantry items that stock a young writer’s larder.


Book World: ‘The Bellwether Revivals’ by Benjamin Wood

The plot of Benjamin Wood’s first novel, “The Bellwether Revivals,” is reminiscent of those horror flicks Jamie Lee Curtis used to star in back when she was known as the “scream queen,” rather than as the spokesperson for Activia yogurt and women’s regularity.


Karen Thompson Walker’s ‘The Age of Miracles,’ reviewed by Ron Charles

As if global warming, terrorism and taxmageddon weren’t enough to worry about this summer, now the Earth’s rotation is slowing down. Fast.


Book review: ‘Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir)’ by Jenny Lawson

It seems that every so often, a memoir shoots up the charts, only to have its journalistic integrity questioned months later as the pendulum swings from adoration to suspicion. From James Frey cowering on Oprah’s couch to “This American Life” debating a warning label for David Sedaris’s essays, the universal truth in nonfiction memoirs is that the accuracy of events will, at some point, be questioned.


Book review: “Fat, Drunk, and Stupid,” by Matty Simmons

This time of year, my campus is flooded with prospective students and their parents. The fellows tend toward sports jerseys and cargo shorts, while the ladies favor midriff-revealing tops, skintight jeans and heels.


‘The Orphan Master’s Son’ by Adam Johnson - Review

Adam Johnson’s novel recounts the adventures of Jun Do, a North Korean soldier, kidnapper and surveillance officer who becomes complicit in the state’s crimes and then falls in love with an actress.


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