William H. Pritchard
Do we really need yet another book filled with tips, instructions, and warnings against this or that? Only if the take on the subject is as uncommon as the one offered by Good Prose.
The First Four Notes asserts that Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony “might not be the greatest piece of music ever written...but it must be the greatest ‘great piece’ ever written.”
In his fine new study of Portrait of a Lady, Michael Gorra says that it was with this “American masterpiece” that Henry James became truly Jamesian.
'The Lower River' is one of Paul Theroux’s darker explorations of a world as 'other.' But is it a cautionary tale, a novel of pure adventure, or something else?
Jeffrey Eugenides's 'The Marriage Plot'
Nicholson Baker’s Splendid Digressions
Beautiful & Pointless, by the poet David Orr, is a short, lively guidebook that proposes to conduct the “general reader” about the landscape of contemporary poetry—what Orr refers to more than once as Poetryland.
More than once in this collection of vigorous letters, Bellow apologizes for his unsatisfactory epistolary habits: “I’ve never enjoyed writing letters,” he tells Ralph Ellison. “It’s part of some disagreeable reticence in me—laziness; worse; something very nasty.”
A review of Jonathan Franzen's Freedom
That this critic, at age ninety, should have produced such an extraordinarily packed, balanced, and wise book gives us heartening evidence of his staying power as well as E. M. Forster’s.