An Ordinary Youth by Walter Kempowski, Translated by Michael Lipton

New York Review of Books Review by Brian Tanguay In November 1944 Walter Kempowski was called up for mandatory service by the German government, and detailed to go from house…

By the Sea by Abdulrazak Gurnah

Riverhead Books Review by Brian Tanguay The first time I became aware of Abdulrazak Gurnah was on this website when I read fellow contributor Walter Cummins’ review of The Last…

Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller

Grove Press Essay by Brian Tanguay I first read Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller thirty years ago. I kept coming across references to Miller in the books I was…

The Book of Angels by Thomas E. Kennedy

Wordcraft Review by Linda Lappin The Book of Angels is the title of a novel written by Michael Lynch, the main character of the late Thomas E. Kennedy’s occult thriller – The…

Sophie’s World: A Novel about the History of Philosophy by Jostein Gaarder, trans. by Paulette Møller

Farrar, Straus and Giroux Review by Walter Cummins Although Sophie’s World was first published in Norwegian more than thirty years ago and since then has been translated into close to…

Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition by Daniel Okrent

Scribner Essay by Brian Tanguay When the conservative supermajority of the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization in June 2022, it overturned a…

Poetry Book Reviews for the Holidays

by David Starkey Since 2014, first for the Santa Barbara Independent and then for the California Review of Books, every National Poetry Month, I’ve offered one very short review of…

The Silent Woman: Sylvia Plath & Ted Hughes by Janet Malcolm

Review by David Starkey Janet Malcolm, who died on June 16, 2021, typically referred to herself as a journalist. While that’s certainly an honorable occupation—and working for The New Yorker,she…

The Innocents Abroad, or The New Pilgrim’s Progress by Mark Twain

A Fresh Look by Paul Willis Unlike many of my friends in Santa Barbara, I have never been to Europe.  So, when I recently received an invitation to teach a…