A Precarious Peace: On David Mason’s “Pacific Light”

November 20, 2022 A POET KNOWN for his narratives, like Ludlowthe acclaimed historical-novel-in-verse turned opera, David Mason curates the archipelago of intensely satisfying lyric poems in Pacific Light with the skill of a consummate storyteller. His imaginative sweep is evident in “The Air in Tasmania,” set in his adopted home of Australia, where “the land … Read more

In / Divisible Ink: On David Lloyd’s “The Harm Fields”

November 15, 2022 IN DAVID LLOYD’S remarkable new book The Harm Fields, lyricism aspires to the condition of stone. In the book’s 11 poems or poetic series, language is pared back to its essentials, often leaving only a trace of some prior formulation. And since the personal pronoun is often absent, objects and natural forms … Read more

The Paris Review – Michelle de Kretser and David Orr Recommend; Our Editors Remember Hilary Mantel

Gabriel Mälesskircher, Saint Guy Healing a Possessed Manpublic domain, via Wikimedia Commons. This week, we remember Hilary Mantel (1952–2022), and bring you recommendations from two of our issue no. 241 contributors. On holiday in France, I went to Colmar to see the Isenheim Altarpiece in the Musée Unterlinden. Afterward, wandering through the museum’s collection of … Read more

A Collapsing World: On David Yoon’s “City of Orange”

SEPTEMBER 10, 2022 DAVID YOUON’S City of Orange is a postapocalyptic novel about what happens when a father’s world collapses. The novel begins with a man regaining consciousness in a devastated suburban landscape. Because of a head injury, he cannot remember his name, the way he got there, or the reason the world around him … Read more

“The Wondrous Legacy of the Ciliary Hair”: On David George Haskell’s “Sounds Wild and Broken”

JULY 27, 2022 FOR NEARLY THREE billion years, life on Earth was mute. Nothing sang, buzzed, or croaked. Ocean animals swished through the water, but their noises were incidental, reached no one, and served no communicative purpose. The only sounds — wind, rain, thunder — merely emphasize the vast emptiness. If not for the miracle … Read more

Pragmatic and Passionate, Cunning and Callous: On David S. Brown’s “The First Populist: The Defiant Life of Andrew Jackson”

JULY 11, 2022 EVEN 175 YEARS after his death, Andrew Jackson is still all the rage, and a continual source of outrage. During the unexpected rise of Donald Trump to the presidency in 2016, Steve Bannon and other pundits compared to the future 45th president to Jackson, ascribing to him a similar status as a … Read more