In a positive review of David Mitchell’s latest book, Ruth Franklin bemoans the empty, hyperbolic praise that predominates in contemporary book reviews. “[H]appy reviews are all alike. A book’s plot is engaging, the characters feel true, the writing is interesting. So what?”
James Hynes heralds the “macabre aura” of London’s Whitechapel and Spitalfields, working-class neighborhoods whose literary reputations have for the past thirty years revolved around Nicholas Hawksmoor and Jack the Ripper.
Nadya Labi revisits the would-be Harlequin romance she wrote at 16.
“[T]he literary anecdote is a kind of oxymoron: the unpublished truth about a man or woman who lives by publication. The anecdote catches the writer unawares and perhaps catches the writer out.”