Jane Ciabattari

Jane Ciabattari is the author of the short-story collections Stealing The Fire and California Tales. Her reviews, interviews, and cultural reporting have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The Daily Beast, the Paris Review, the Boston Globe, The Guardian, Bookforum, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, and BBC.com among others. She is a current vice president/online and former president of the National Book Critics Circle.

Pages

Book Reviews
8:30 am
Thu November 13, 2014

A New Collection, Well-Furnished With Munro's Best

Originally published on Fri November 14, 2014 11:20 am

The citation for Alice Munro's 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature calls her "the master of the contemporary short story" and praises her ability to "say more in thirty words than an ordinary novel is capable of in three hundred."

Munro distills into one story the sweep of a lifetime, with all its sorrows, disappointments and glories. Her work spans the 20th century, but her focus is on ordinary people (mostly in Canada) whose responses to love, lust, seeking community and facing tragedy range from magisterial to frail to vindictive.

Read more
Book Reviews
4:31 am
Sun September 21, 2014

The Stories In 'Bright Shards' Glimmer With Empathetic Power

iStockphoto.com

Bright Shards of Someplace Else is Monica McFawn's first collection of short stories, and it's already won this year's Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction. Perhaps it was her idiosyncratic voice, or her flair for distinctive characters that the judges recognized. Or maybe it was her empathetic power. Either way, McFawn has talent. In these 11 stories she manages to range from fantastic to satiric to poignant.

Read more
Book Reviews
6:03 am
Thu August 7, 2014

'The Kills' Sustains Suspense Across A Massive Structure

Originally published on Thu August 7, 2014 11:42 am

Richard House's thriller The Kills, which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize last year, weighs in at 1,024 pages. It's a long read, and worth every minute.

Read more
Book Reviews
6:03 am
Thu June 5, 2014

Suspense Along The Sepik With The Young Scientists Of 'Euphoria'

Lily King's fourth novel (after the award-winning Father of the Rain) was inspired by a moment in 1933 when the lives of three young anthropologists — Margaret Mead and her second and third husbands, Reo Fortune and Gregory Bateson — intersected along the Sepik River in New Guinea. Using this as a point of departure, and changing the actual story line drastically, King weaves together the tale of a tragic love triangle and an exhilarating description of three rivals working to shape a new social science discipline.

Read more
Book Reviews
5:52 am
Thu May 15, 2014

Huck And Jim Ride The River Of Time In 'Boy In His Winter'

Huck Finn and Jim set out from Hannibal, Mo. on a July afternoon in 1835 aboard a raft. But this is not Mark Twain's tale: In Norman Lock's brief and brilliant fabulist novel The Boy in His Winter, Huck and Jim sweep down the Mississippi toward the Gulf of Mexico as though in a dream, caught in mythic time. "We were held in the mind of the river, like a thought," Lock writes.

Read more

Pages