On Jenny Offill’s Dept of Speculation for BookForum. In 1999, Jenny Offill published her first novel, Last Things, written in the voice of a girl caught between her passive scientist father and her mother, an increasingly unstable fabulist who takes her daughter on the run to nowhere in particular. Startlingly assured in inhabiting a child’s…

Read More
Bring Up the Bodies By Hilary Mantel

On Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up the Bodies (BookForum) Hilary Mantel’s 2009 novel, Wolf Hall, was an extraordinary achievement, a work of historical and artistic integrity that nonetheless managed to be a hit across genders, generations, and sensibilities. I know a twentysomething male worshipper of Thomas Bernhard who loves it, and I know a retired female…

Read More
Ivanka and Donald Trump

Ivanka Trump achieved her status as the best reality television character the genre has ever produced on her father’s NBC program Celebrity Apprentice. This was an arena in which the likes of Tom Green, Dennis Rodman, Andrew “Dice” Clay, and other reanimated wax figures from the Museum of Déjà Vu would vie to create a…

Read More

It’s not surprising that the mobile game Kim Kardashian: Hollywood is expected to generate $200 million in annual revenue, because Kim Kardashian generates money the way that most people generate carbon dioxide. She earned $28 million in the past 12 months simply by showing up at events, showing up on TV, and showing up (albeit…

Read More

Great pants. A reassuringly familiar undertone of melancholy. Warning! This piece contains spoilers for Spike Jonze’s new movie, Her. The near future is usually an appalling place, where designer babies are delivered via drone and preschoolers learn Java via brain wave–reading headbands and private security forces of headless mechanical boars stalk our office parks at…

Read More

Though it has already broken box-office records in South Africa, the new biopic Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom has gotten mostly middling reviews, or worse. Scott Tobias of the Dissolve wrote that this “dull, glossy, and uncomplicated film” provides “a lesson in how not to make a historical biopic.” Writing in Variety, Scott Foundas called…

Read More