Deborah Eisenberg’s latest collection of short stories is Your Duck Is My Duck. She is also the author of a play, Pastorale.
 (June 2020)


Tyrannical Days

Jessica Hagedorn, 1980s


by Jessica Hagedorn
Some good news is that Penguin is bringing greater attention to Jessica Hagedorn’s Dogeaters with its celebration of the novel’s thirtieth anniversary, and it turns out that the book is every bit as spectacular as it was on its initial appearance. Although by the standards of both the serial-publication and …

The Driest Eye

The Dry Heart

by Natalia Ginzburg, translated from the Italian by Frances Frenaye

Happiness, as Such

by Natalia Ginzburg, translated from the Italian by Minna Zallman Proctor
Natalia Ginzburg’s work is so consistently surprising that reading it is something like being confronted with a brilliant child, innocent in the sense of being uncorrupted by habit, instruction, or propriety.

After the Gold Rush

Louise Lovely in The Social Buccaneer (1916), from Bill Morrison’s Dawson City: Frozen Time

Dawson City: Frozen Time

a documentary film written and directed by Bill Morrison
Dawson City: Frozen Time is nominally a documentary—it is a documentary—but describing it as a documentary is something like describing Ulysses as a travel guide to Dublin. The film is transfixing, an utterly singular compound of the bizarre, the richly informative, the thrilling, the horrifying, the goofy, the tragic, and the flat-out gorgeous.

Robert B. Silvers (1929–2017)

Robert B. Silvers in his office at The New York Review of Books, early 1980s
From its first issue in 1963, Robert Silvers was either co-editor with Barbara Epstein or, after her death in 2006, editor of The New York Review. Bob worked almost to the very end of his life, which would be no surprise to those who knew him well, including those who have written these brief memoirs.

A Blinding Need for Each Other

The Door

by Magda Szabó, translated from the Hungarian by Len Rix, with an introduction by Ali Smith
Magda Szabó’s The Door is unmistakably a work of fiction, with fiction’s allusive and ambiguous purposes and effects, but it is narrated in the first person by a writer and composed—perhaps almost entirely—of frankly autobiographical recollections.

A Wonderful Novel and an Impossible Challenge

Jenny Erpenbeck, Berlin, 2014

The End of Days

by Jenny Erpenbeck, translated from the German by Susan Bernofsky
Jenny Erpenbeck’s wonderful The End of Days opens with the death of an infant in 1902 near the eastern border of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and ends with the death, nine decades later, of a woman in an old people’s home in Berlin, but the book, bracketed as it is by death, is so alive that one closes it gently.

Cross Off and Move On

A young girl in Soviet Georgia, 1947; photograph by Robert Capa
Adela, Bernice, and Charna, the youngest—all gone for a long time now, blurred into a flock sailing through memory, their long, thin legs streaming out beneath the fluffy domes of their mangy fur coats, their great beaky noses pointing the way.


In the Fine Print of Experience

Utility footwear worn on a wartime evening out, London, 1940

All the books of the twentieth-century British novelist Henry Green are relatively short and unobtrusively but highly condensed. And anyone who has read several of them will almost certainly have observed not only how different they are from one another, and in how many ways, but also that one of their shared features is how stunningly different they are from anybody else’s.