Sarah Kerr, a longtime contributor to The New York Review, lives near Washington, D.C. (November 2014)


Wonder Woman: The Weird, True Story

The cover of the July–August 1951 issue of Wonder Woman, by Irv Novick

The Secret History of Wonder Woman

by Jill Lepore

Wonder Woman Unbound: The Curious History of the World’s Most Famous Heroine

by Tim Hanley
It’s Jill Lepore’s contention in The Secret History of Wonder Woman that the superheroine has all along been a kind of “missing link” in American feminism—an imperfect but undeniable bridge between vastly distinct generations.

The Triumph of Roberto Bolaño


by Roberto Bolaño, translated from the Spanish by Natasha Wimmer

The Romantic Dogs

by Roberto Bolaño, translated from the Spanish by Laura Healy
Well beyond his sometimes nomadic life, Roberto Bolaño was an exemplary literary rebel. To drag fiction toward the unknown he had to go there himself, and then invent a method with which to represent it. Since the unknown place was reality, the results of his work are multi-dimensional, in a …

Displaced Passions

Unaccustomed Earth

by Jhumpa Lahiri
Jhumpa Lahiri is, and is not, an old-fashioned writer. She is too natural to be anyone’s imitator. Yet the kind of relationship she invites readers into can feel familiar from some of the books we were drawn into long ago, when we were first learning about the good company reading …

Nathan, Farewell

Exit Ghost

by Philip Roth
So the Zuckerman saga has ended, with no soaring chords of elegy and not a single consoling hint that though our hero looks set to fade away, his legacy will carry on. It’s no surprise that Philip Roth would take such care not to be sentimental, at least not in …

In the Terror House of Mirrors

The Unknown Terrorist

by Richard Flanagan

The Reluctant Fundamentalist

by Mohsin Hamid
Certain oft-heard criticisms of President Bush’s policies seem rich, too, with potential implications for literature. There is the call, after seven years of awful decisions based on faith, to reembrace realism. There is the frustrated insistence that words and how precisely and intentionally we use them matter: see the War …


Beauty Disturbed: Almodóvar’s Broken Embraces

In the summer of 1989, I spent several weeks in Madrid. It was my first time out of the United States, and I was overwhelmed by the shock of difference: the life-giving daily approach to time; the ghost dregs of imperial supremacy; the post-Franco traces of bleak limbo that were thankfully almost done eroding; the particular charisma, not quite the same as what I had absorbed from so far away, in books and movies, as “European charm.” There was a pop soundtrack to that summer, an album that had come out months earlier but was still at its viral peak. One addictive song especially spilled out of windows onto plazas, with a stately beat and a girlish voice recalling (from the male point of view) an affair with a woman described as half-finished, with the body of a gypsy and “an eye here, a tooth there.”