PanThe New York Times Book ReviewMost of The UnAmericans, Molly Antopol’s first collection of short stories, reads like a series of writing exercises. With one exception, the stories are about lives that fail to happen ... The point of view shifts between men and women, though everyone in these stories seems to speak and think in the same voice ... It is not an unpleasant voice — it is erudite and occasionally thoughtful and belongs unmistakably to a young, well-educated American woman ... There is more to life than the one wrong turn — and that there ought to be more to fiction as well.
PositiveThe New YorkerThe therapeutic value of Duggan’s book goes well beyond freeing me from shame for my teen-age lack of literary taste and political discernment; it also provides an explanation for our current cultural and political moment ... Duggan traces Rand’s influence, both direct and indirect, on American politics and culture ... Duggan doesn’t blame Rand for neoliberalism, exactly, but she spotlights the Randian spirit of what she calls the \'Neoliberal Theater of Cruelty.\' This theatre would include players we don’t necessarily describe as neoliberal. Paul Ryan, the former House Speaker, is a Rand evangelist who gave out copies of Atlas Shrugged as Christmas presents to his staff and said that she \'did the best job of anybody to build a moral case of capitalism.\'
PanThe New YorkerThe President of the United States is a deranged liar who surrounds himself with sycophants. He is also functionally illiterate and intellectually unsound. He is manifestly unfit for the job. Who knew? Everybody did.
So why has a poorly written book containing this information, padded with much tedious detail, become an overnight sensation, a runaway best-seller, and the topic of every other political column, podcast, and dinner conversation? It seems we are in bigger trouble with reality perception than we might have realized ... tone, more than the substance, is what gives the book the flavor of a peek behind the curtain, the sense of someone finally putting words to an 'open secret' ... If the comedians bring reality into sharper focus, Wolff just slaps on broad, sloppy strokes. His writing is comically bad...His logic is ridiculous ... That Fire and Fury can occupy so much of the public-conversation space degrades our sense of reality further, while creating the illusion of affirming it.
Ed. by Bandy X. Lee and Robert Jay Lifton
PositiveThe New YorkerContributors to the book entertain the possibility of applying a variety of diagnoses and descriptions to the President ... Behind the obvious political leanings of the authors lurks a conceptual problem. Definitions of mental illness are mutable; they vary from culture to culture and change with time ... Psychiatrists who contributed to The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump are moved by the sense that they have a special knowledge they need to communicate to the public. But Trump is not their patient ... None of this is secret, special knowledge — it is all known to the people who voted for him. We might ask what’s wrong with them rather than what’s wrong with him.
Vladimir Sorokin, Trans. by Jamey Gambrell
PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewKnowing when to pick one’s battles is the mark of a great translator, and Gambrell is one. Her translation is as elegant, playful and layered as the original — and never appears labored.