Entries by Jason Sullivan

Crook Manifesto by Colson Whitehead

In Crook Manifesto, the always excellent Colson Whitehead takes us back to the world he devised in his previous novel, Harlem Shuffle. Ray Carney still has his Harlem furniture store. Becoming more prosperous, he and his family have settled into an apartment on the coveted Strivers’ Row. We’re in the 1970s, where “the flamboyant quotient […]

The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder by David Grann

Just when you think you’ve already heard the most daring of castaway sea voyages from the historical record, comes now author David Grann to regale us with a remarkable chronicle of woe. In The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder, Grann weaves together a myriad of sources, recounting events with such vibrant prose […]

The Vaster Wilds by Lauren Groff

We meet “the girl” as she runs through a land that’s “innocent of story.” She thinks not of what‘s being left behind, lest she “die of grief.” She’s fleeing a settlement where even the good have become awful. Through snow and ice she runs, “speed and fear” constituting her sails. We never learn of the […]

His Majesty’s Airship: The Life and Tragic Death of the World’s Largest Flying Machine by S.C. Gwynne

Word association with “airship” probably yields responses ranging from “Goodyear Blimp” to “Hindenburg.” Perhaps there’s also a vague sense that airships had their greatest run in popularity during the early 20th century, transatlantic crossings and all. In His Majesty’s Airship: The Life and Tragic Death of the World’s Largest Flying Machine, S.C. Gwynne unfurls this […]

Trust by Hernan Diaz

How vast individual wealth is amassed often hits its mark in biographies. We know the usual suspects: Carnegie, Rockefeller, Jobs. Within each is a story of a commodity or a manufactured good, something tangible for the mind’s eye. Concentrated wealth by way of finance capital is a more nebulous biographic endeavor. Rarer still are novelizations […]

Small Mercies by Dennis Lehane

There’s a refrain that spans time and distance. When circumstances are what they are, someone will shrug and say, “It is what it is.” In Dennis Lehane’s gritty new novel, Small Mercies, the residents of 1970s South Boston say this, along with such things as “Whatta ya gonna do.” It’s not a question, of course, […]

Rikers: An Oral History by Graham Rayman and Reuven Blau

A perk of landing at New York City’s LaGuardia Airport is the resplendent rollout of the Manhattan skyline. As you descend into the maw of a great city, you’ll find it outside your left window. Taking off from LaGuardia, you’ll find another famous—albeit grimmer—NYC scene, this time just outside your right window: Rikers Island. There’s […]

River of the Gods: Genius, Courage, and Betrayal in the Search for the Source of the Nile by Candice Millard

The Victorian era conjures much to mind, and it’s often a word salad of Britishness: the Brontë sisters, tea and crumpets, “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?” It can go on and on. Conspicuous consumption had long been in place among the British aristocracy, where the finest of art was displayed to demonstrate one’s perceived cultural superiority. […]