Thank You

Thank you to all my fellow writers and friends who commented or emailed after reading my remembrance of Jack Scovil. Most of you are writers who knew him; some of you — writers or not — had no connection.  Wherever you fit, you’ve taught me some important lessons. What a sense of loss for all…

Paradise Deleted

A while back, I was writing on a computer that clumped along like ol’ Dobbin the work-horse, its eyes too bleary for more than a frame or two of YouTube, its pace too slow for quick links to websites. The poor thing would freeze at the sight of my email, hitched as it was to…

The Best Revenge

As a reader, I don’t enjoy stories with tidy endings. Real life is raggedy and messy, and the best stories suggest this. As a citizen, I feel the same way. I step back from imagining that battles, even worthy ones, can be won for good. The world may be a safer place without the likes…

The Strangest Story of All

Out of the hundreds of books—novels, novellas, short stories, nonfiction— that I’ve read in my lifetime, none has a story as strange as the one which Christians celebrate this weekend. Whenever I read the tale of Easter, I feel perplexed. Most of us don’t. Most of us are either skeptical or unquestioning. In the first…

Farzana Doctor’s Six Metres of Pavement

There’s a certain type of novel that makes you wonder how hard it might have been for the author to say good-bye to her characters once she’s finished writing. In some books, characters stand up and without too many authorial nudges, form an alternate family in which both the writer and her readers find comfort.…

Writers, Listen Up!

A few weeks back, I was visiting New York City, and while I was stocking up on books, I also dropped in on one of my favorite NYC institutions — Bargemusic, the tiny floating concert hall on the Brooklyn side of the East River. Now I’m no music critic and this is a book blog,…