Book Review: Exit West

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

Exit West: A Novel by Mohsin Hamid (New York: Riverhead Books, 2017. 240 pp) Mohsin Hamid is the internationally bestselling author of the novels Moth Smoke, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, and How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia and the essay collection Discontent and Its Civilizations. His books have been translated into more than thirty languages and have won or been short-listed for numerous prizes, including the Man Booker Prize, the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the PEN/Hemingway Foundation Award, and the Betty Trask Award. Hamid’s essays and fiction have appeared in The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, Granta, and many other publications. Born in Lahore, he… Read More →

Book Review: The Making of the Zombie Wars

The Making of the Zombie Wars by Aleksandar Hemon

The Making of the Zombie Wars: A Novel by Aleksandar Hemon (New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2015. 320 pp) Aleksandar Hemon is the author of The Lazarus Project, which was a finalist for the National Book Award; The Book of My Lives, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; and three other works of fiction, including Nowhere Man, which was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He is a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a “Genius Grant” from the MacArthur Foundation. He lives in Chicago. Enough Already The world has no need for more zombie stories. Luckily, Aleksandar Hemon’s latest novel, despite its title, is not about zombies. The Making… Read More →

Book Review: Strategy

Strategy by Lawrence Freedman

Strategy: A History by Lawrence Freedman (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013. 768 pp) Lawrence Freedman studied at Whitley Bay Grammar School, Victoria University of Manchester, University of York, and University of Oxford. Freedman has held positions at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, Royal Institute of International Affairs, and currently as Professor of War Studies at King’s College London. He was elected Fellow of the British Academy, appointed Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, and Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George. What’s It All Mean Anyway? There’s a lot going on in the world. Be careful or you might get run over. With millions of people attempting to… Read More →

Book Review: Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk: A Novel by Ben Fountain (New York: Ecco, 2012. 320 pp) Ben Fountain is the author of Brief Encounters with Che Guevara. He has received the PEN/Hemingway Award, the Barnes & Noble Discover Award for Fiction, a Whiting Writers’ Award, an O. Henry Prize, two Pushcart Prizes, and two Texas Institute of Letters Short Story awards, among other honors and awards. His fiction has been published in Harper’s, the Paris Review, Zoetrope: All-Story, and Stories from the South: The Year’s Best, and his nonfiction has appeared in the New York Times and the New York Times Sunday Magazine, among other publications. His coverages of post-earthquake Haiti was nationally broadcast on the radio show This American… Read More →

Book Review: The Human Body

The Human Body by Paolo Giordano, translated by Anne Milano Appel (New York: Viking Press, 2014. 318 pp) Paolo Giordano is the author of the critically acclaimed international bestseller The Solitude of Prime Numbers, which The New York Times called “mesmerizing,” and which has been published in more than forty languages. He has a Ph.D. in particle physics and lives in Italy. Afghani Doldrums The Human Body is not what it sounds like. Upon looking at the title, one might think the book is a novel of anatomy and physiology. However, The Human Body by Paolo Giordano is a darkly comic novel inspired by the author’s two ten-day tours in Afghanistan as an embedded journalist reporting on the most recent… Read More →

Television Show Review: TURN: Season 1

TURN

TURN: Season 1 created by Craig Silverstein (AMC Studios, Sesfonstein Productions, and Josephson Entertainment) Starring Jamie Bell, Heather Lind, Burn Gorman, Samuel Roukin, Seth Numrich, Daniel Henshall, Meegan Warner, Kevin McNally, Angus Macfadyen, and JJ Field. Sticking with It One parental principle I hope to instill in my son is the concept of sticking with it. If you sign up for something, you remain committed to it through the duration, whether it’s a sporting season, or a certain agreed level of expertise on an instrument. Not wanting to be a hypocrite, when I signed up to watch the first season of TURN, I did so acknowledging I’d watch the whole thing no matter how good or bad the show might… Read More →

Book Review: Foundation and Empire

Foundation and Empire

Foundation and Empire by Isaac Asimov (New York: Everyman’s Library, 2010; originally published in 1952. 664 pp) Isaac Asimov was one of the most prolific writers and editors of modern times, with approximately five hundred books in his bibliography. He died in 1992. Sci-Fi Worlds Perhaps the most critical aspect of science fiction and fantasy genre writing centers upon the ability for an author to build a world. Readers, given their grounding in reality, need extra description the more abstract the setting. When a narrative situates itself in modern-day Los Angeles, the author can get away with leaving the setting in the periphery. But when your entire story sits in a galaxy far, far away, you better offer some vivid… Read More →

Book Review: Elders

Elders by Ryan McIlvain

Elders: A Novel by Ryan McIlvain (London: Hogarth, 2013.  304 pp) Ryan McIlvain was born in Utah and raised in Massachusetts. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in many journals, including the Paris Review. A graduate of the Rutgers MFA program and a recipient of the Stegner Fellowship at Stanford, he currently lives with his wife in Los Angeles. Shotgun Gospel Even though I’ve grown up in the Christian faith and continue to hold to the basic tenets of its tradition, I’ve always felt a little uneasy about the Evangelical push toward proselytizing. There’s a sense in which your work holds value only as much as you are able to convert others to the faith. The gospel mandate to share… Read More →

Book Review: American Sniper

American Sniper by Chris Kyle

American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History by Chris Kyle with Scott McEwen and Jim DeFelice (New York: William Morrow, 2012. 448 pp) Chris Kyle served four combat tours in Operation Iraqi Freedom and elsewhere. He was awarded two Silver Stars, five Bronze Stars with Valor, two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, and one Navy and Marine Corps Commendation. Kyle died in February, 2013. Scott McEwen is a trial lawyer in San Diego, California. An Eagle Scout, he grew up hunting with long-range rifles in Oregon. Jim DeFelice is the author of Omar Bradley: General at War, the first in-depth critical biography of America’s last five-star general. He has also written a number… Read More →

Book Review: A Constellation of Vital Phenomena

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena: A Novel by Anthony Marra (New York: Hogarth, 2013. 384 pp). Anthony Marra is the winner of a Whiting Award, a Pushcart Prize, The Atlantic’s Student Writing Contest, and the Narrative Prize, and his work was anthologized in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2012. He holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and is currently a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. He has lived and studied in Eastern Europe, and now resides in Oakland, CA. Born of War and Whimsy Some of the most powerful stories are those born out of conflict and war. Stories like Fiddler on the Roof or Schindler’s List based on the novel Schindler’s Ark have told the terrible tale of the holocaust… Read More →