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The Novel and the Secret Police

Peter Coviello Boston Review
In Vineland, Thomas Pynchon's dour 1990 novel, the author of Gravity’s Rainbow anticipated a United States where all available definitions of freedom are channeled through security apparatuses understood as the greatest good. Sound familiar?

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Insular, Controversial Picks for Nobel Literature Laureates

Jennifer Wilson The Nation
Next year, says the reviewer, the Nobel Committee for Literature should look beyond Europe. Despite the differences between awardees Olga Tokarczuk and Peter Handke, they both reflect a divided Europe as viewed only from within its borders.

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John Woman

Steve Nathans-Kelly New York Journal of Books
Mosley’s new book, writes reviewer Nathans-Kelly, "is as provocative and morally instructive as anything he’s written.”

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The Soaring Writer Who Landed on His Feet

Michael Hirsch New Politics
A crime novel with a difference, this one centers on murders in a vacation town that appear to take on racial significance going back to World War Two and a segregated, elite military command.

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A Postcard from Ursula LeGuin

John Crowley Boston Review
An homage to the then recently deceased, superlative science fiction writer who encouraged the author, an apprentice novelist adrift in the publishing world, to be a better reader as well as an accomplished scribbler of exemplary fiction.

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A Novel Tackles Capitalism and Boredom

Constance Grady Vox
In Ling Ma's debut novel Severance, a radically understated post-apocalyptic novel about boredom, the apocalypse looks a lot like another day at the office.

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Remembering Philip Roth (1933-2018)

Nathaniel Rich The New York Review of Books
An homage to the esteemed late novelist and nonfiction writer Philip Roth, who died on May 22, leaving a legacy of thick description of an American culture where, in Roth's ironic words, “everything goes and nothing matters."

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Outlander Introduces Slavery Into Its Narrative So Claire & Jamie Can Make Heart Eyes in Jamaica

Princess Weekes The MarySue
The moral of the story is “don’t tell stories about these big topics if you can’t do it well.” And by “well,” I don’t mean create a post-racial utopia. I mean have the ability to give that story its own weight and importance beyond what it does for your two white leads. I mean the very least you can do is not make Jamie and Claire white saviors. At the very least. But that isn’t possible because they are the people this story is about.

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Literature’s Inherited Trauma

Nur Nasreen Ibrahim The Millions
Jesmyn Ward is best known for her novel Salvage the Bones (2011). In this new book, says reviewer Ibrahim, "she traces an American highway odyssey, from the Mississippi Gulf Coast to Parchman Farm, the notorious state penitentiary."
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