A. O. Scott is a film critic at The New York Times and the former Sunday book critic for Newsday. His writing has appeared in The New York Review of Books, Slate, and many other publications.


A Finished Woman

Seeing Mary Plain: A Life of Mary McCarthy

by Frances Kiernan
The title of Frances Kiernan’s generous and engrossing new biography of Mary McCarthy alludes to some lines from a poem by Robert Browning: Ah, did you once see Shelley plain, And did he stop and speak to you, And did you speak to him again? How strange …

The Panic of Influence

Brief Interviews with Hideous Men

by David Foster Wallace

The Broom of the System

by David Foster Wallace
David Foster Wallace’s most recent book presents itself as a collection of stories, but you don’t have to read very far to discover that conventional notions of “story” don’t exactly apply. The first piece is called “A Radically Condensed History of Postindustrial Life,” and it consists, in its entirety, of …

Looking for Raymond Carver

All of Us: The Collected Poems

by Raymond Carver


by Raymond Carver
“And did you get what you wanted from this life, even so? I did. And what did you want? To call myself beloved, to feel myself beloved on the earth.” Plenty of writers are admired, celebrated, imitated, and hyped. Very few writers can, as …

A Matter of Life and Death


by Richard Powers
If, as Calvin Coolidge famously said, “the chief business of the American people is business,” the response of most American novelists has been that it’s none of theirs. While the tumultuous rise and global spread of American capitalism is surely a subject epic in scope and dramatic in detail, it …

The Sun Also Sets

Cities of the Plain, Vol. 3, The Border Trilogy

by Cormac McCarthy
Cities of the Plain is the concluding novel of Cormac McCarthy’s Border Trilogy, following All The Pretty Horses (1992) and The Crossing (1994). The critical and commercial success of these books—All the Pretty Horses won a National Book Award, and Cities of the Plain has followed both of its predecessors …