n1br

N1BR is the book review supplement to n+1 magazine.
We publish reviews of new literature several times each year at nplusonemag.com/n1br.

March 2014

N1BR Issue 14

What Seems To Be the Problem Here?

It was books that showed the company the value of customer reviews, when reviews, from one to five stars, became a kind of alternate center for literary judgment, and a hugely popular aspect of the site. More…

In Spite of All

There’s something admirable about Krasznahorkai’s willingness to write monstrous misery, and the relentless cataloguing of suffering in his earlier works makes for memorable stories. More…

N1BReading

David Owen’s The Man Who Invented Saturday Morning: And Other Adventures in American Enterprise should be way, way more famous than it is. Somebody reissue it. More…

Mission Fatigue

“So, then. You want a story and I will tell you one,” begins Hosseini’s latest novel about Afghanistan, acknowledging the compact between him and his readers right away. More…

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N1BR Issue 13

Chiquita Banana Jingle

Cultural resistance to the influence of advertising on popular music may be at a forty-year low, but there is still plenty of music that remains practically if not ideologically detached from “commercial interests.” More…

Revoltingly Edible

There is hunting; there is jousting. There are sconces, velvet cushions, jellies in the shape of castles, and stuffed piglets. There are songs that can only be described as bawdy. More…

Down and Out

In Lionel Asbo you sense his subsequent failure above all in the dialogue, where a careless snobbery, a real lack of feeling for the speech of the working classes, has appeared. More…

It Was Written

The last few years have been good for hip hop nerds, bringing along with the usual mixtapes and albums an unexpected load of books. It began with Jay-Z’s deluxe coffee-table memoir Decoded. More…

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N1BR Issue 12

N1BReading

After reading Lost Illusions all winter I hated the idea of youth and being young, so I turned to Kingsley Amis’s Lucky Jim—a novel about a 25-year-old who seems to have no dreams left at all—as a corrective. More…

Ancient Curse

At this stage in Houellebecq’s career, there is a checklist of flaws that any balanced reviewer is more or less obliged to go through, so let me get those out of the way. More…

Bones of the Book

Traditionalists attack e-books because they are not enough like print books. The electronic literary vanguard tends to dislike e-books because they are too much like real books. More…

Spanish Inquisition

The novel is structured around the phases of Adam’s “research.” The first phase involves going to the museum each morning, high on hash, to look at Roger van der Weyden’s Descent from the Cross. More…

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October 2011

N1BR Issue 11

N1BReading

We asked our editors what they’ve been reading lately, and almost all of us have been reading for Occupy Wall Street. We also suggest skipping your graduate school qualifying exams and traveling light. More…

Krytronite

His “ancestors on one side can be traced back to the great medieval biblical commentator Rashi, and on the other side almost to King David.” This of course would make Milchan “almost” related to Jesus. More…

Black Noise

Open City unfolds as a series of walks in Manhattan, allowing for coincidences and linkages to occur naturally, without the superstructure of a plot. The narrator, Julius, has no specific agenda. More…

King of the Ghosts

The class was exciting and productively creative, and fostered abject terror. Wallace knew that he could drive us as hard as he could, and he did, even as he endured a mental hell we learned about only after his death. More…

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June 2011

N1BR Issue 10

N1BR Reading, Part Two

“Luc Boltanski’s On Critique: A Sociology of Emancipation, published in French in 2009, has just come out in translation from Polity, and I’m really learning from it.” Our summer reading recommendations keep coming, with more thrillers, biographies, and Kathleen Hanna. More…

N1BR Reading

“I’ve been reading Houellebecq’s new novel The Map and the Territory. As of about halfway through, I can report no sex.” Editors and contributors share their favorite memoirs, novels, and philosophical treatises for the summer. More…

Intern as Gift

But what if the intern’s gift sucks? It’s better—less thorny—to be paid a salary and maintain the distinct distance commerce imposes. In fact, the word “professional” refers to exactly this personal remove. More…

#amwriting

The phone is on the table next to me, but it holds no allure. I wouldn’t dream of picking it up. I remember years ago—so many it seems almost quaint—when the phone was a problem. It would ring. More…

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January 2011

N1BR Issue 9

N1BReading

Editors and contributors share their favorite books they read in 2010, from climate change thrillers and anthropological masterpieces to German fiction, historical novels, new and classic poetry, and unconventional biographies. More…

Easy Romance

As anyone with a passing familiarity with contemporary British fiction will have noticed, his case for modernism hasn’t exactly prevailed, so Josipovici laid the groundwork for his new book, Whatever Happened to Modernism?, by making a lot of noise. More…

The Long Revolution

Ironically, while feminism has been extremely successful from the 1980s through the present day in resetting the public debate globally, the same period of time has seen a decline in feminism’s visibility. More…

Comparison

Gilbert Achcar, a Lebanese leftist who teaches at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, is choosing to venture out from the pro-Palestinian lines just at the point where all the Zionist guns are already aimed. More…

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October 2010

N1BR Issue 8

A Moral Baseball Bat

If Kundnani is mostly right, the idealization of 1968 is mostly wrong. Far from making the country anew in its own image, the 1968 generation was itself shaped by all the contradictions of postwar Germany. 1968 was no more the hour of rebirth than 1945. More…

Express Yourself

The most controversial rap song in history, unfortunately, is not actually a rap song. “Cop Killer” was released in March 1992, one year after Rodney King’s beating and one month before the riots that followed his attackers’ acquittal. More…

American Psyche!

Heat-mangled tapes, a desolate pool, the proximate eruption of a volcano—clearly, even my earliest LA memories have been reshuffled as a result of imbibing Less Than Zero’s signature blend of sun, fun, and doom. More…

Why Cahiers?

Bickerton’s desire to present Cahiers as at once film culture’s prime mover and “the final modernist project”—drawing on a shaky grasp of history in which Griffith, for one, appears as a member of “the original avant-garde”—leads her to sanitize and, as it were, modernize the magazine’s record. More…

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May 2010

N1BR Issue 7

The Information Artist

D’Agata is at his best when he sheds the artifice of the lyric essay and writes straightforwardly about Yucca Mountain. More…

Berlin Trilogy

I got the distinct sense during my year in Berlin that the preoccupation with history’s physical imprint on the city was an Auslander phenomenon. More…

The American Peacock

Look up Greil Marcus’s chapter on Moby-Dick in the New Literary History of America, and you’ll find a TV Guide description of John Huston’s 1956 film version—which is funny, maybe. More…

Gödel in Hong Kong

Is the philosophical program that emerges out of this double movement, between tradition and innovation, even coherent? It seems to me that x-phi simply cannot decide what it wants to do. More…

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March 2010

N1BR Issue 6

Into the Woods

The self-confined, self-examining tendency in newer fiction might be a global one, but the isolated and awkward countryman is almost a folk hero in Scandinavia. He’s a survivor. More…

The Writing of the Disaster

Far beyond the explanatory debunking that her social science, which at least in principle strives for value neutrality, already provides, Solnit gives us a pamphleteering, partisan vision of utopia. More…

The Man Who Blew Up the Welfare State

These are Larsson’s twin themes: the failure of the welfare state to do right by its people and the failure of men to do right by women. More…

American Pastoral

The expectation in the American West, when looking at a map of public and private lands, is one of apparent socialism: the closest this country gets to the appropriation of property by the people. More…

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November 2009

N1BR Issue 5

Gentrified Fiction

In Walking Small (1974), Davis again focuses on the physical work that is and makes possible gentrification: an advertising executive sets about renovating the brownstone he has purchased, despite one tenant’s refusal to move out. More…

Maneaters

In July 2008, while travelling on a Greyhound bus between Edmonton and Winnipeg, Vincent Li beheaded his sleeping seatmate, a man he had never met, with a butcher knife. More…

Blog Bound

He is forthright about the fact that he had no need to “break in” to the old media establishment, nor did he imagine he was breaking it down. More…

Shop Right

Crawford’s book, Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work, describes the emotional and cerebral satisfactions of skilled manual labor. More…

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August 2009

N1BR Issue 4

The Moment

When the reading is over and the inevitable question-and-answer session begins, the question invariably arises. “When exactly did you start writing?” More…

How to Write About a Political Childhood

Communist ideologues are not known for their parenting skills. Take Marx, who saw families (especially his own) as obstructions to political ends. More…

Disenchanted

Books on atheism have been selling like—well, like spiritual self-help books. More…

Quick Change

In a 1998 essay recently reprinted in his book Close Calls with Nonsense, critic Stephen Burt christened the “Elliptical school” of poetry. More…

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May 2009

N1BR Issue 3

Grade Grubber

Considered in the most cynical light, the American system of education as it now exists is a status machine, absorbing young citizens, sorting them according to rigid criteria. More…

Cheever in Charge

In the lurching stock market of literary fame, John Cheever’s has been fading for decades. This spring’s double-barreled canonization at least allows us finally to pose the question: Was Cheever great? More…

The Comeback

Posthumous insults are usually directed toward the rich and famous, and Vega was neither. More…

Steppe it Up!

November in Astana—Kazakhstan’s new marble and glass capital in the middle of the empty steppe—is blisteringly cold, and distractions from the harsh wind that whips across the desolate landscape are welcome. More…

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May 2009

N1BR Issue 2

Developing Variations

Alex Ross is the most important arts critic writing for the New Yorker. I do not mean he is the best writer (though he may be) or the most intelligent (also possible). More…

Sea Slugs

Many readers are by now thinking: Wait a minute. Germany? Isn’t that where all that old fetish porn comes from?…Yes, but that was a generation ago. More…

Soul on Ice

Milking a cow, making a cup of coffee: these acts provide physical cathexis for psychological pain, allowing Petterson’s characters to organize and reorder a life dislocated by death. More…

Exit to Eden

Although Rice speaks passionately of her own religious awakening, it is hard not to wonder whether her return to Christ was as much a spiritual decision as an aesthetic one. More…

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May 2009

N1BR Issue 1

The Graduate

Christine Schutt was one of the last writers Gordon Lish published before he left Knopf. Her early books bear the strong imprint of the Lish method; her later books tell a story of evolving from it. More…

Head of the Class

There is a case to be made that Richard Rorty: The Making of an American Philosopher is less a book about Richard Rorty than it is a book about the late French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu. More…

Playboy

The Playboy centerfold was a world away from the European ideal of a sexually-sophisticated temptress. Hefner’s girls were always girls, first of all, or bunnies—not women. More…

Christian Science

Robinson’s work has long stood for me as the best repudiation of Nietzsche’s famous remark: “The Christian resolve to find the world ugly and bad has made the world ugly and bad.” More…

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