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When the TV Turns Off

From the Aug/Sept 2021 Print Edition

To say that Don DeLillo dislikes television would be an understatement. He actually seems to think it’s imperiling our souls. DeLillo’s novel White Noise—which won the National Book Award in 1985 and secured his reputation as one of the best contemporary American writers—was . . . . Continue Reading »

Dare to Knock

From the December 2018 Print Edition

The Kingdom by emmanuel carrère farrar, straus and giroux, 400 pages, $28 The genius and the apostle are alike, according to Kierkegaard, in that both bring new ideas into the world. But there’s a crucial difference. Geniuses are ahead of their time, and, consequently, the knowledge they bring . . . . Continue Reading »

Quotidian Wonder

From the October 2016 Print Edition

Zero Kby don delilloscribner, 288 pages, $26In 2013, Jonathan Safran Foer claimed that “Only those with no imagination, and no grounding in reality, would deny the possibility that they will live forever. It’s possible that many reading these words will never die.” Many other intelligent, . . . . Continue Reading »

Thrown in the World

From the March 2016 Print Edition

An awful lot of summer blockbusters in 2014 seemed to be about young people dying. Of terminal illnesses in The Fault in Our Stars, as far as I could tell from the previews, and at one another’s hands in convoluted, dystopian competitions in The Maze Runner and the third installment of The Hunger . . . . Continue Reading »

Honor Thy Child

From the February 2015 Print Edition

Lila: A Novel by marilynne robinson farrar, straus and giroux, 272 pages, $26 Of Pieter Bruegel’s sixteenth-century de­­pic­­tion of Icarus crashing into the sea, W. H. Auden observes “how everything turns away / Quite leisurely from the disaster.” Bruegel’s painting shows a tragedy . . . . Continue Reading »

Pears Not Pixels

From the February 2014 Print Edition

Don’t be fooled by the slapstick comedy and the silly names, the labyrinthine plots that careen around and veer maddeningly toward irresolution and paranoia, the playful gags and the abundant nods to pop culture—or to stoner culture, for that matter. Thomas Pynchon writes serious ­moral . . . . Continue Reading »