RaveBookforumIntimate ... Pinckney conveys a sense of daily life in this now-vanished literary world. But his book is emphatically not a biography ... Pinckney has given us an introspective character study, freewheeling and impressionistic ... An assured handling of themes and techniques he has been working with across his career ... Pinckney’s sympathy for feminine genius, richly elaborated in this memoir, runs through his work like a golden thread ... Pinckney has always been formally ambitious ... Pinckney’s roving style, his impressionist blurring, elevates a society memoir into a kaleidoscopic portrait of 1970s New York ... Pinckney weaves a tapestry of gossip, filled with smatter and chatter ... Pinckney transforms mentor into muse. It is a loving portrait, but not a hagiographic one.
PositiveThe AtlanticMcCarthy-Jones provides a few real-world examples of \'counterdominant spite,\' in which spiteful actors take down the powerful. He cites research on contemporary hunter-gatherer societies showing that swaggering group members who attempt to bully and dominate others are frequently killed ...His argument that spite promotes fairness, however, relies mainly on a famous economics experiment known as the \'ultimatum game.\' ... Unfortunately, as McCarthy-Jones proceeds through his survey of the psychological literature, his category of spite broadens into incoherence ... Distinct phenomena—envy, sadism, schadenfreude, reckless idealism, world-historical malice—get flattened. Lost in all this is spite’s peculiar emotional texture, its blend of childish vindictiveness and rashness ... These conceptual confusions and truisms mar an otherwise promising exploration. In turning our attention to spite, McCarthy-Jones has identified an important element in the emotional climate of the present.
Édouard Louis, Trans. by Michael Lucey
RaveThe Los Angeles Review of Books\"Louis’s novel goes down not like cod-liver oil but whiskey. What a relief to leave the other pundit-prescribed books wilting on the bedside table in exchange for a novel that scorches and seethes ... Louis offers a candid psychological portrait that shines with exact, if at times excessive, detail ... The novel’s sociological thrust guards against the self-absorption that mars some autofiction. In its attention to the village and its inhabitants, the novel traces how we exist, and are produced, socially.\