C.S. Lewis and the Feverish Passion of ‘Love in the Time of Cholera’

Review of Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García MárquezThis summer, determined to finally make a dent in my 'to read' list, I finally took the plunge into Nobel prize winner Gabriel García Márquez's classic South American romance, Love in the Time of Cholera.[SPOILER ALERT FROM HERE ON OUT]García Márquez tells the story of the young poet Florentino Ariza, who falls in love with the lovely (and even younger) Fermina Daza. The two begin a passionate correspondence, despite the v … [Read more...]

Swamplandia! Should Remain a Short Story

Review of Swamplandia! by Karen RussellAlthough Swamplandia! somehow stole one of the three finalist positions for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, the book lacks the strength to compete at that level. It is a simple exile-and-return story of a family.  The only element that might keep readers interested would be Karen Russell’s ingenuity in crafting fun sentences and a fantastical world where a child’s perspective and reality meld into one.Swamplandia! spins a tale about the Bigtree c … [Read more...]

The Sense of an Ending: Meditations on Memory and Self-Deception

Review of The Sense of an Ending by Julian BarnesThe Sense of an Ending is a novella by Julian Barnes that explores the limits of memory and how memory affects defines us. Published in 2011, it won the Man Booker Prize in October of that year. Often, The Sense of an Ending reads more like a compilation of philosophical one-liners or paragraphs that make you sit there and ponder about abstractions, rather than a story. But Barnes’s craftsmanship lies in his ability to keep readers turning the … [Read more...]

‘On the Road’ to Nowhere

Review of On the Road by Jack KerouacWhen I moved to D.C., some friends and I started a book club. Our goal was to work our way through the classics of English/American Literature and read the books that everyone else seemed to have read in high school or college. Books which, for some reason, had never actually wound up on the required reading lists for any of our classes. At the top of that list was Jack Kerouac’s On the Road (1957), which was supposed to be a classic and was included on se … [Read more...]

Kafka’s World Without Grace

Review of The Trial, by Franz KafkaBy PAUL D. MILLERA hundred years ago, a German-speaking Czech insurance salesman—and a secular Jew—wrote three incomplete novels and a handful of short stories and died young. His reputation soared among literati, who speak of this man—Franz Kafka—in the hushed, awed tones reserved for the great and the gods. His name has become an adjective: to be in a Kafkaesque world is to be trapped in the clutches of an irrational, faceless authority, ensnared in the … [Read more...]

P.G. Wodehouse Meets Jonathan Edwards

Review of Evangellyfish by Douglas WilsonBy JUSTIN HAWKINSCommenting in his youth on his own pastorate, Reinhold Niebuhr remarked that “I make no apology for being critical of what I love. No one wants a love which is based upon illusions, and there is no reason why we should not love a profession and yet be critical of it.” By this metric, Pastor Doug Wilson loves the ministry.  If Mark Noll’s Scandal of the Evangelical Mind was “an epistle from a wounded lover,” then Wilson’s Evan … [Read more...]

True Grit, Old School

Review of True Grit by Charles PortisBy ALEXIS NEALMattie Ross is no ordinary fourteen-year-old. She has a head for figures, good business sense, excellent bargaining skills, and a stubborn streak a mile wide. Oh, and she’s looking for the guy who shot her pa.  See, her dad was gunned down in cold blood by a low-down no-account good-for-nothing by the name of Tom Chaney, and Mattie’s dead set on making sure he pays for his crime. Unfortunately, Tom Chaney fled into Indian Territory and jo … [Read more...]

Inferno

Review of Inferno by  Larry Niven and Jerry PournelleBy COYLE NEALIn my college Epic Poetry class, I was given the assignment of writing a new Canto to Dante’s Inferno. I had two ideas that seemed equally appealing, so I stuck them both into my own three-page masterpiece of undergraduate prosy. First, being the unique and creative individual that I am, I thought that Hitler probably deserved a place in hell. Rather than simply stick him with the suicides or the violent or the wicked leaders, … [Read more...]

The Serpent in Eden in Crossing to Safety

Review of Crossing to Safety by Wallace StegnerBy JULIA POLESECrossing to Safety is Pulitzer Prize-winning author Wallace Stegner’s final novel.  It is a story of two couples coping with the loss of Eden. Told from the perspective of Larry Morgan, the novel begins with he and his wife, Sally, as a young couple living in a basement apartment in Madison, Wisconsin, during the Great Depression. Larry, a self-made man from a lower class family in New Mexico and a freshly minted PhD in English fro … [Read more...]