Five Grueling Days of Joy

From the February 2016 Print Edition

When the woman came for our daughters, we were crowded around a small round metal table, eating damp French fries and day-old bagels. It was early evening, and we’d had a long day, and now another stranger was giving my wife a piece of paper. Was this yet another petition to sign? A cool Catholic . . . . Continue Reading »

Scout's Grown Up

From the January 2016 Print Edition

Go Set a Watchman by harper lee harpercollins, 288 pages, $27.99 It might be the greatest American literary controversy of recent years: In summer 2015, ­millions of excited readers discovered to their great dismay ugly racial elements in Harper Lee’s new/old novel, Go Set a Watchman. But this . . . . Continue Reading »

American Heraclitus

From the October 2015 Print Edition

The Life of Saul Bellow: To Fame and Fortune, 1915–1964 by zachary leader knopf, 832 pages, $40 Saul Bellow had a cat named Rufus. He learned from Ralph Ellison how to make drip coffee—though, according to his new biographer, the “elaborate procedure” that Ellison taught him “was hard to . . . . Continue Reading »

Write Away

From the August/September 2015 Print Edition

The most electrifying reading experience I’ve had this past year came 656 pages into Donna Tartt’s recent novel, The Goldfinch. A twenty-first-century young American’s adventure story, its action moves from wealthy Manhattan to Great Recession–era Las Vegas to decadent high-end European . . . . Continue Reading »

Jesus Lovers

From the March 2015 Print Edition

The Book of Strange New Things? by michel faber ?hogarth, 512 pages, $28 At last, someone has written the great interplanetary Christian missionary novel. Perhaps you weren’t aware that we were waiting for this. I certainly wasn’t, until reading British novelist Michel Faber’s new . . . . Continue Reading »

City of Google

From the January 2015 Print Edition

Cybertheology: Thinking Christianity in the Era of the Internet by antonio spadaro fordham, 160 pages, $24 The New Digital Age: Transforming Nations, Businesses, and Our Lives by eric schmidt and jared cohen random house, 368 pages, $15.95 To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological . . . . Continue Reading »

Scriptural Splinters

From the May 2014 Print Edition

The Childhood of Jesusby j. m. coetzeeviking, 288 pages, $26.95 Awarded the Nobel Prize in 2003, South African novelist J. M. Coetzee has long been a fierce if idiosyncratic moral voice in contemporary literary circles. In the 1970s and 1980s, his essays and fiction regularly took withering aim at . . . . Continue Reading »

Faith in Fiction

From the Aug/Sept 2013 Print Edition

I’m sick of Flannery O’Connor. I’m also sick of Walker Percy, G. K. Chesterton, J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, T. S. Eliot, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and Dostoevsky. Actually, I’m sick of hearing about them from religiously minded readers. These tend to be the only authors that come up when I . . . . Continue Reading »

Thoroughly Modern Mary

From the March 2013 Print Edition

The Testament of Mary by Colm Tóibín Scribner, 81 pages, $19.99 All told, Mary utters only two hundred words in the Bible. We hear from her three times in Luke, at the Annunciation and the Visitation, and when she remonstrates with the twelve-year-old Jesus after he has gone missing in . . . . Continue Reading »