William Deresiewicz is a Nation contributing writer whose Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life is forthcoming in August from the Free Press.
An ambitious two-volume history of the novel explores its evolution across
continents and centuries.
Richard Powers's The Echo Maker speaks volumes about
neuroscience, nature and environmental degradation. But it says little about what it means to be alive.
Philip Roth's Everyman is a contemporary morality play that explores the author's obsessions with health and virility, ecstasy and betrayal, and the certainty and solitude of death.
It can't be easy to rein in a writer as successful as Zadie Smith. Her new novel, On Beauty, proves it's almost impossible.
Cormac McCarthy's No Country for Old Men seems designed as a calculated assault on the reader.
What are you doing? I mean, right now. You're reading a book review.
The last decade or two have witnessed an insidious
shift in American culture, one that goes to the heart of the way we
talk about our society.