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.
With its lack of art and absence of thought, the blockbuster Norwegian novel disappoints.
The unflinching fiction of Ludmilla Petrushevskaya.
The task of a critic has to do with the nature of the knowledge we call art.
Kurt Vonnegut sought to fool us with his eyes wide open.
Ann Beattie is an artist of the things we don’t say, or can’t, and that find expression anyway.
Vulnerability was what made David Foster Wallace so beloved, but it often led him to surrender too much in his fiction.
The exploitation of contingent labor, a shrinking middle class, administrative elephantiasis: the turmoil in academia is a microcosm of American society as a whole.
Drollery, mordancy, tenderness and soul talk: Saul Bellow's letters are a Saul Bellow novel!
In Javier Marías's trilogy Your Face Tomorrow, the self is composed of borrowed languages and an uncertain voice.
The axis of moral struggle, a stroke of salvation--these are the spiritual dimensions of Tolstoy's late fiction.