Teju Cole’s Open City

In her 1940 memoir, Paris, France, Gertrude Stein wrote that “everybody who writes is interested in living inside themselves in order to see what is inside themselves.” With his first novel, Open City, an elegant exercise in flâneurie, Teju Cole proves himself to be Stein’s writer – as much a tenant of his mind as he … Continue reading

The Art of Fielding

What do we talk about when we talk about literature? More often than not, it isn’t baseball. But when Chad Harbach talks about baseball in his remarkable first novel, The Art of Fielding, among his dream teammates are Melville, Lowell, Emerson, Eliot, Keats and Murakami; his chief game, literature. Indeed, it is nothing short of an … Continue reading

The Sense of an Ending

‘I remember, in no particular order’. It is with these provocative words that The Sense of an Ending begins and, in many ways, ends. From here, we are launched into the past of Tony Webster, the novel’s unexceptional, peaceable protagonist. Like any history, The Sense of an Ending repeats itself – or rather, Tony Webster … Continue reading

Off the Shelf: Books are for Reading, and Other Stories

Books have many a purpose. First off, they are great for reading. They’re also handy to furnish a room with, sit in cafes looking pretty with, use to intimidate enemies, impress a prospective employer or ward off flies and, on planes, to quiet overly chatty next-seat passengers that feel the need to talk until landing. In … Continue reading

A Fashionable Art

The art world is an exclusive, strictly members only club which one can only dream about setting heeled-foot inside. It is a closed sphere, designed by insiders for insiders. Sarah Thornton’s Seven Days in the Art World is an outsider’s saving grace. It is our name on the guest list, our means of almost unlimited … Continue reading


There is no New Yorker quite like Paul Auster. The city is Auster’s literary terrain; the stage with 176 zip codes where he performs fast-paced crime scenes, uncovers skin-tingling discoveries, and plays out thrilling games and riddles. Auster’s fifteenth novel reads as a metropolis of vast possibilities where literary dreams are fabricated and sordid, sexual … Continue reading