MixedPasteThe combination of flavors—blendedness itself—comes to define Savage Feast ... Though it mostly hews to the memoir’s first-person, for instance, two of its finest passages are chapters from family lore ... though it focuses on Fishman’s \'Russian non-Russian\' identity—and the fraught dynamic this creates with his parents—it also features details of his clinical depression, his career and his relationships with women ... Savage Feast is episodic, almost disjointed. Among other questionable decisions, Fishman passes over the years between his family’s journey to the States...and draws the series of love interests at the center of the memoir’s second half so thinly that it begins to seem strange they’re included at all. It’s as if he doesn’t trust that immigration itself continues to be dramatic enough once the far shores are reached, and so he whisks in a slurry of underdeveloped ideas to thicken the plot ... this, of course, is the memoirist’s challenge, to accept that no recipe is a match for the actual experience, and then to tailor it accordingly. To paraphrase the old adage, too many subplots spoil the broth.
RavePaste... the novel emerges most acutely as a reminder that even \'normal\'-sized lives can feel impossibly large ... More than the class conflicts that threaten to overwhelm the pair’s affections, more than the petty jockeying for social status or the major traumas that pepper the plot, it’s the almost unbearable fidelity with which Rooney describes the process of loving someone—romantic or platonic, requited or not—that defines Normal People and distinguishes it from similar fiction ... The beating heart of Normal People is its refusal to dismiss the prickling intensity of being 18 or 21 by treating it, from the perspective of 28 or 32, as merely ridiculous. The novel never applies the benefit of hindsight to the topsy-turvy feeling of being young ... enthralling.
RavePaste…[an] excellent oral history … All the Pieces Matter renders the making of ‘The Wire’ in enough rich detail to please even its most ardent fans … The picture that emerges is one in which ‘greatness’—the arc from pilot episode to best TV series of all time—is contingent on an almost infinite number of factors, from financial considerations and casting decisions to critical reception, timing and plain dumb luck … All the Pieces Matter offers a reminder that the very definition of ‘greatness’ is itself circumstantial, subject to shifting mores, changing tastes, industrial constraints, popular interests.