Critical Notes: Jane Smiley, Toni Morrison, Kate Atkinson, and more

by Carmela Ciuraru | May-04-2015

Your reviews seed this roundup; please send items, including new about your new publications and recent honors, to Make sure to send links that do not require a subscription or username and password.


* Please join the NBCC on Wednesday, May 27th, in New York: It's the first day of BEA, and a number of activities are planned, including the annual mmbership meeting, a panel discussion, and a cocktail reception at the Center for Fiction. You can find out the details here.

Steven Kellman reviews "Lifted By the Great Nothing," by Karim Dimechkie, for the San Antonio Current.

Carl Rollyson reviews a new biography of T. S. Eliot for the Star Tribune.

John Strawn on Jon Ronson and Toni Morrison for The Oregonian.

NBCC Board Member Jane Ciabattari picks 10 books to read in May for her Between the Lines book column for, now in the UK as well as the US and the rest of the world:Edna O'Brien, Margaret Lazarus Dean, the complete Patrick Melrose novels, first novels from Jabari Asim and Patricia Park.

Also, Ciabattari's short story collection, California Tales (2014), is now on Audible.

Amy Gentry reviews Kate Atkinson's "A God in Ruins" for the Chicago Tribune.

Micah McCrary interviews Maggie Nelson for the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Daniel Dyer on "A Young General and the Fall of Richmond," in The Plain Dealer.

Harvey Freedenberg on William Maxwell's "So Long, See You Tomorrow" in Harrisburg Magazine.

Heller McAlpin on Jane Smiley's "Early Warning" for

Janette Currie reviews "The Old Straight Track" by Alfred Watkins in the TLS.

Hope Reese on "The Folded Clock" by Heidi Julavits, for the Chicago Tribune.

Sebastian Stockman reviews "The Top of His Game" for the Boston Globe.

NBCC Board Member Colette Bancroft on Kate Atkinson's "A God in Ruins" for the Tampa Bay Times.

Mary Mackey interviews Marge Piercy.

Julia M. Klein reviews Richard Dunn's "A Tale of Two Plantations" for the Pennsylvania Gazette.

NBCC Board Member David Biespiel's latest essay in The Rumpus.

Dominic Green on Hilary Mantel and Todd Endelman.

Katherine Powers  of the NBCC Board reviews "The Making of Zombie Wars" for the Chicago Tribune.

Megan Labrise interviews Elizabeth Alexander for Kirkus.

NBCC Board Member Carmela Ciuraru's latest "Newly Released" column for the New York Times.

Ellen Akins reviews "Early Warning" by Jane Smiley for the Star Tribune.

Andrew Ervin on Toni Morrison and Adam Thirlwell. Also: Soho Press has just published Ervin's debut novel, "Burning Down George Orwell's House."

About the Critical Mass Blog

Commentary on literary criticism, publishing, writing, and all things NBCC related. It's written by independent members of the NBCC Board of Directors (see list of bloggers below).



Categories & Archives

Become a Friend of the NBCC

Upcoming Events

NBCC at AWP18: March 09th, 2018

NBCC Finalists’ Reading: March 14th, 2018

NBCC Awards Ceremony and Reception: March 15th, 2018

NBCC Awards

Award Winners for 2016

See all award winners

Find out how to submit

Read how we select

Frequently Asked Questions

Videos and Podcasts

NBCC 2016 Awards Ceremony

NBCC 2015 Awards Ceremony

NBCC 2015 Finalists Reading

NBCC 2014 Awards Ceremony

NBCC 2013 Awards Ceremony

NBCC 2013 Finalists Reading

Video: New Literary Journals

Video: The VIDA Count and Gender Bias in Book Reviewing

Podcast: What Is Criticism? NBCC Winners and Finalists at AWP

All videos and podcasts.