Reviews

Citizen – Claudia Rankine

The signifying power of the black hoodie, it seems, has aged well since 1993, and its longevity only attests to the persistence of many of the dominant strains of racist ideology in the contemporary United States.

Best of Reviews, 2014

This year, stories hit us deep. Collected here are ten of our favorite reviews published in 2014.

Cover – Peter Mendelsund

Belonging to a coffee table has never equalled a doomed lack of quality or depth.

On Immunity – Eula Biss

In a culture that relishes pitting women against each other in mommy wars, I feel compelled to leave some traces on the page of another kind of argument.

The Laughing Monsters – Denis Johnson

Johnson seems content to produce an entertainment of the kind Graham Greene claimed to periodically write, a novel that engages the author’s characteristic themes, but in a manner that seems safely familiar.

The Trace – Forrest Gander

For Dale and Hoa, middle-class fools who have waded in far too deep, the encounter will prove surreal and cathartic, though Gander is too sophisticated to provide a clear resolution.

@War: The Rise of the Military-Internet Complex – Shane Harris

Most frustrating is the author’s futile attempt to reconcile his desire for a broad readership with his choice of a subject as inherently technical as cyber warfare.

The Last Projector – David James Keaton

Everything from car accidents and vicious dog attacks to a broken penis and punches to the face are hurled at the reader without any time for rest.

In the Heart of the Heart of the Country – William H. Gass

Gass is not an obfuscator by nature, but rather one who would show you how a thing works, whether it’s the clockwork of a sentence by Henry James or the heart of a fascist.

The Anatomy of Dreams – Chloe Benjamin

Too many sentences feel freighted with meaning — too small to be foreshortening, too clunky to seem clever in hindsight.

The Last Projector – David James Keaton

Everything from car accidents and vicious dog attacks to a broken penis and punches to the face are hurled at the reader without any time for rest.

McGlue – Ottessa Moshfegh

McGlue is covered in a lush filth.

Bolaño: A Biography in Conversations – Mónica Maristain

A kind of memorial service where stories — and differing accounts of the man — can be heard amid the rapturous din of conjecture.

I Called Him Necktie – Milena Michiko Flašar

We realize: no one is what they seem. We realize: everyone has private tragedies; everyone is a tiny book.