RavePopMatters... brilliant ... a network of shareable, explorable, and exploitable linked memories. Yet as good as the summary sounds, its plot isn’t its point at all. Its story is ... To think of plot alone, though, in a novel as richly constructed as The Candy House is reductive, a mere math metaphor, points on a line to represent relationships between A and B. How one gets from A—life’s inspiring formative events—to B—life’s subsequent outcomes—is at the sweet center of The Candy House ... Beyond technology, even beyond people, Egan seems plainly in awe of the idea, the power, of stories themselves. She seems to see story—the long narrative arcs of our lives—as different from plot—the things that happen to happen.
MixedPopMattersThe tension between his two groups—ironic vs. sincere, outsider vs. insider, rebellious vs. wholesome—is the precise yet unacknowledged tension of Grohl’s The Storyteller ... This Everyman Dave favors superfluous adjectives (on the first page alone: \'cruel trick\', \'false illusion\', \'quick look in the mirror\') and defaults to cliché ... But perhaps the clichés are the point. Everyman Dave doesn’t put artifice—or labor—into his prose. It’s easier for him to think of himself as rock’s Forrest Gump, haplessly in the right place at the right time (another cliché repeated throughout the book) than an agent of his own triumphs ... it is as difficult to reconcile Everyman Dave with Destiny Dave as it is to reconcile The Storyteller’s prose with the lyrics that Grohl has composed over the past three decades. Surprisingly, he does not analyze or even mention his lyrics ... The book’s prose is banal, buffoonish; the song’s lyrics are personal, empathic ... The tone and topics are, unlike his lyrics but like his drumming, relentlessly upbeat. Grohl wants you to know that he is happy, satisfied, positive, and exuberant. He spends a whole chapter gushing over meeting Little Richard, another over Joan Jett. No doubt those were awesome experiences. These are the qualities of a rich and enviable life, to be sure, but they don’t necessarily make a compelling read ... Instead, Grohl will allude to, then elide, what could have been the substance of a very different book, one in keeping with the depths indicated by his lyrics ... not a memoir. Episodic, nonlinear, and discursive, the book is more indebted to the oral than written tradition. Based on the snippet I listened to, the audiobook, narrated by Grohl himself, captures its spirit better than the text alone.
PositivePopMatters... this is a slowly paced novel ... Ishiguro\'s literary feat...is the pervasive irony of Klara\'s sincere, unironic point of view. Even from her periphery, we still glimpse a society of pervasive personal loneness coupled with and caused by sinister, systemic. political and economic portents ... Despite its forays into science fiction...Klara and the Sun feels like a fairy tale ... Klara moves from alienating to relatable. Such is the novel\'s achievement, and its heartbreak.
Chelsea G. Summers
RavePopMattersThe chapter titles function as thrilling set pieces, but together they shape the story and, like a food blog with a thousand words before getting to the recipe, create powerful suspense, even as the recursive storytelling reveals the gory outcomes from the start ... Through scenes of vibrant sex and vivid violence, author Chelsea G. Summers refuses handholding as well ... Easy to summarize but difficult to, um, flesh out, A Certain Hunger, is, without a doubt, the Great American Female Serial Killer Novel, The Great Gatsby of women cannibal foodie satirical black comic memoirs. That it\'s also the only one is a testimony to its inventiveness, but that\'s beside the point ... Summers has found a novel way to intertwine horror and violence with our monstrous consumption.
MixedPopMatters\"The Silence is never harrowing, or even especially alarming ... if The Silence largely ignores its premise, it also jettisons the usual trappings of plot and character in favor of dialogue and monologue, so that it resembles an absurdist play more than a novel proper ... mostly, more than any other DeLillo novel, the characters sound a lot like we do in 2020, in the time of Covid-19...The Silence, however, is less about a 2022 \'different catastrophic event\' than the catastrophic event we are currently living. DeLillo\'s 16th novel appears to be his first that is neither late nor early to the uncanny prediction of current events but arrives precisely on time ... The Silence captures the foreboding sense of time and space displaced, replaced by stretches of nothing. And the only way to fill that nothing, the novel suggests, is with language.\
PositivePopMatters... less a murder mystery, or even a mystery, than a work of metafiction, a story about how we construct our stories, of telling the story of telling the story ... There\'s little action—once the note is discovered on the top of page one, the trip to the library is the most momentous event for much of the novel ... In its use of irony and indirection to explore Vesta\'s psychology, Death in Her Hands is reminiscent of Henry James\' modern realism; in its attention to the ways in which our mysteries are constructed more than they are solved with language, Death in Her Hands evokes Paul Auster\'s postmodern detective stories ... In its stripped-down prose and story, Moshfegh offers not a poetic experience, but a noetic one. We are given an almost mystical view into Vesta\'s mind. When Vesta finds the note, she holds a woman\'s death in her hands. When we read Moshfegh\'s book, we hold a woman\'s life.
Jennine Capó Crucet
PositivePopMattersCrucet\'s prose is conversational and largely free of flourish, imagery, or metaphor (with, however, a strong penchant for parentheticals). Her structures are looping and elliptical, seeming to go in different directions, until she pulls them together at the end, when you realize that the sentences don\'t need symbols, because the whole essay has been symbolic ... If My Time Among the Whites teaches us anything, it may be that the metaphorical experience of being first-generation American Latinx is inseparable from any supposedly non-symbolic \"real\" thing. Crucet\'s section and essay titles are just as evocative and metaphorical as her book titles ... In its combination of realism and symbolism, the collection is also suffused with contradiction, in the best sense.
W. Scott Poole
MixedPopMatters\"... W. Scott Poole... provides an alternative—or, perhaps, in keeping with this book, uncanny—analysis of the artistic and cultural legacy of the War to End All Wars ... And yet, while Poole\'s thesis is persuasive and his prose sharp, perhaps the origin of modern horror is more complicated [than portrayed in the book]. In the rapidly accumulating examples and analyses, the study suffers from a familiar cultural history problem: single-mindedness. The Great War is Poole\'s Theory of Everything ... Still, the book\'s wide-ranging erudition, strong prose, and clear love and fascination with both history and horror—this review barely scratches the surface of all of the topics and texts covered—will appeal to a variety of readers, but only those who can persevere without losing heart.\
RavePopMattersThere is, obviously, plenty of writing on parenting. The topics are, as they say in the magazine business, evergreen. But they are also primordial. Sleep. Clothing. Food. Freedom. Feces. So what I mean is, if there is one thing even harder than parenting, it\'s writing about parenting well ... In the end, reading Pops made me feel two things: this is how Eric Clapton felt seeing Jimi Hendrix for the first time, when he exclaimed, \'You never told me he was that fucking good.\' And I\'m not exactly the Eric Clapton of parenting articles in the first place. The other is the guilty wish that my own kids might have been better off if Chabon had raised them. But he couldn\'t, because he was too busy writing more books.