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Albert Cossery: A Splendid Conspiracy

Albert Cossery, according  to the write-ups I’ve read of this book, has been called “the Voltaire of the Nile.”  Egyptian by birth, he moved to France when he was around seventeen and lived there until his death, in 2008, at the age of ninety-four.  Despite the long separation between Cossery…

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Jonathan Franzen: “Agreeable”

Click here to read the story in its entirety on The New Yorker webpage. Jonathan Franzen’s “Agreeable” was originally published in the May 31, 2010 issue of The New Yorker. I really liked this story from its first, strange paragraph — which leads to this nice line, ”Patty grew up in…

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Edith Wharton: The House of Mirth

It has been only a few weeks since I last read Edith Wharton; I enjoyed Ethan Frome so much I just couldn’t hold out any longer to read The House of Mirth (1905), Wharton’s first major success.  I picked up this copy when, almost exactly one year ago this week,…

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P.G. Wodehouse: The Code of the Woosters

This is going to be a short review.  If you’re familiar with Wodehouse, you won’t need my recommendation to read more — you’ve beat me to it.  If you haven’t, the bottom line is that you should.  My own first experience with Wodehouse was just last year, and Leave It…

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Lost Man Booker Winner

J.G. Farrell’s Troubles has the Lost Man Booker Prize by winning the popular vote (by a landslide — 38% of the vote against five other competitors).  I think Troubles is an excellent choice.  I might have voted for it myself, had I voted.  I might have voted had there been a…

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Roddy Doyle: “Ash”

Click here to read the story in its entirety on The New Yorker webpage. Roddy Doyle’s “Ash” was originally published in the May 24, 2010 issue of The New Yorker. I haven’t read Roddy Doyle before, though I have tried to read a short story or two. This is the first…

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Henry James: Daisy Miller

I always enjoyed reading and read a lot growing up.  Still, I think one of my first truly literary experiences was when I first read Daisy Miller (1879).  Though I had read some excellent books from excellent authors, Daisy Miller, for whatever reason, was the first one where I was truly…

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The Clock at the Biltmore — Jean Stafford: “Children Are Bored on Sunday”

Jean Stafford is a name I’ve heard often but I have never gotten to know her work.  I noticed that later this year NYRB Classics is releasing her 1947 book The Mountain Lion.  Checking out The New Yorker I found that she was a prolific contributor with a couple dozen…

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John Williams: Butcher’s Crossing

It’s been almost two years since I first heard of the author John Williams, right here on this blog, in the comments to my review of American Pastoral.  There Kevin from Canada said “John Edward Williams may be the most overlooked novelist in American history.”  Last year, all over the…

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Nathan Englander: “Free Fruit for Young Widows”

Click here to read the story in its entirety on The New Yorker webpage. Nathan Englander’s “Free Fruit for Young Widows” was originally published in the May 17, 2010 issue of The New Yorker. I actually read this story last Wednesday (it is now Monday). My delay in posting comments is…