WNC Book ReviewEdition

Knausgaard Comes Up Short: In ‘Autumn,’ Less Isn’t Always More

Autumn, by Karl Ove Knausgaard Karl Ove Knausgaard — famed for his epic memoir My Struggle – goes for short and sweet in Autumn, a meditative seasonal reflection. But while there are lovely moments, the book strays into banality. (Image credit: ) ...

An Educator Makes the Case That Higher Learning Needs to Grow Up

In “The New Education,” Cathy N. Davidson argues that colleges must do more to adjust to social and economic realities. ...

‘Motherest’ Wrestles With the Contradictions of Parental Love

The narrator of Kristen Iskandrian’s novel, “Motherest,” hoped college would be an escape from an unhappy home. Now she must make a home for her baby. ...

If You Want Groundbreaking Noir, Try Looking ‘In A Lonely Place’

The 1950 film starring Humphrey Bogart and Gloria Grahame was adapted from a lesser-known 1947 novel by Dorothy B. Hughes, who belongs in the crime-writing pantheon. The novel’s just been re-released. ...

In ‘Autumn,’ Karl Ove Knausgaard Shows His Sweet Side

Knausgaard’s latest book, the first in a planned quartet, closely describes the material world for his daughter. ...

Books Become A Bridge Out Of Grief In ‘The Futilitarians’

The Futilitarians, by Anne Gisleson Anne Gisleson was reeling from a series of family tragedies when she began meeting with friends to discuss books and life in post-Katrina New Orleans. Her new book chronicles a year of those meetings. (Image credit: Christina Ascani/NPR) ...

In ‘Campus Confidential,’ a Professor Laments That Teaching Is Not the Priority of Teachers

Jacques Berlinerblau, a professor at Georgetown, explains that at colleges and universities, you don’t get what you pay for. ...

A Pioneering Neuroscientist Reports From ‘the Border of Life and Death’

In “Into the Gray Zone,” the neuroscientist Adrian Owen describes finding signs of consciousness in the brains of vegetative patients. ...

Inside Lizzie Borden’s House of Horror

In her novel, “See What I Have Done,” Sarah Schmidt turns the story of Lizzie Borden and the Fall River murders into a grisly exploration of madness. ...

‘The Burning Girl,’ About Intense Pre-Teenage Friendship, Never Catches Fire

In her new novel, Claire Messud writes about “secret sisters,” “umbilically linked and inseparable,” and about how their bond dissolves. ...

Don’t Panic, Liberal Arts Majors. The Tech World Wants You.

George Anders’s “You Can Do Anything” and Randall Stross’s “A Practical Education” argue for the value of a liberal education in today’s economy. ...

Three Deadly Days: One Town’s Experience of the Holocaust

Rachel Seiffert’s novel “A Boy in Winter” probes the bonds and betrayals in a Ukrainian town as it succumbs to Hitler’s armies. ...

Sweet, Generous ‘Wild Things’ Is A Playful Survey Of Kid Lit

Wild Things by Bruce Handy Bruce Handy’s new book takes an emotional, intuitive look at the world of children’s books, from Goodnight Moon to Charlotte’s Web, which he calls “a mastery novel of ideas” about life and death. (Image credit: Christina Ascani/NPR) ...

In ‘The Stone Sky,’ Some Worlds Need To Burn

The Stone Sky By N.K. Jemisin N.K. Jemisin won Hugo Awards for the first two volumes of her Broken Earth trilogy. The Stone Sky is a powerful, timely finale to this story of a world built on oppression and exploitation. (Image credit: Christina Ascani/NPR) ...

‘Sour Heart’ Offers A Fierce, Fresh Take On The ‘Hell’ Of Coming To America

Jenny Zhang is a poet and writer living in New York City. The stories in Jenny Zhang’s powerful debut collection center on the violent, sometimes disturbing experiences of young Chinese-American girls growing up in Queens, NY. (Image credit: Random House) ...

Money, Murder and a Missing Heir in a Thriller Set in Greece

In Christopher Bollen’s new literary thriller, “The Destroyers,” a young playboy vanishes on the Greek island of Patmos. ...

When Selling Out Brings Cash but Not Happiness

A writer finds commercial success in Scott Spencer’s novel “River Under the Road,” but at what cost to his self-esteem and his marriage? ...

The Russian Revolution Recast as an Epic Family Tragedy

Yuri Slezkine’s “The House of Government” tells the story of Bolshevik elites who became targets of their own terror. ...

‘Surfing With Sartre’: Does Riding a Wave Help Solve Existential Mysteries?

In his latest book, the philosopher Aaron James finds profound meaning in his favorite pastime. ...

Giving the Lie to the Notion that Warfare Is ‘Unwomanly’

Svetlana Alexievich’s “The Unwomanly Face of War” collects memories of the Russian women who fought against Hitler. ...