Longform Literary Reviews

A collection of longer book reviews, essays that go further into the text than a typical Amazon review.


What Would David Foster Wallace Do?

A brief review of Consider the Lobster, expanded upon with some lessons this particular writer learnt from DFW’s approach to critical non-fiction.


Diet Cults. A Critical Review.

Is the Paleo Diet a cult?


In his book, Diet Cults, Matt Fitzgerald lumps all diets into one category — cults. These “cults” he says…


‘On A Chinese Screen’, by W. Somerset Maugham

Maugham’s travels around China in 1919 are here related in sketch form, varying wildly in quality from the transcendent…


Immigration: The Unspoken Toll on Families 

Amy Tan’s “Two Kinds”


Interpersonal rivalry is a common occurrence to migrating individuals and their children. This…


The Sound of Trumpets

On Jeremy Scahill’s “Dirty Wars”, and battling against a personal history of ignorance


Returning to Brakebills for the Fifth-Year Anniversary

Grab your iron key and let’s go back to Lev Grossman’s magic school.


For The Love of Beethoven

A defense of Classical music in the 21st Century, and a review of Richard Powers new novel “Orfeo”. 


‘Liza of Lambeth’ by W. Somerset Maugham

First novels can be an enlightening experience for writers and readers alike, but some are more successful than others.


By Day in Katowice

A daytrip to a mining city in Polish Silesia, photography with the Olympus XZ-2 camera, and a look at Roberto Bolaño’s ‘By Night in Chile.’


Is This Failure?

From the SeanMMadden.com archives (20 Jun ‘13)


While house- and pet-sitting in a tucked-away place in the Lake District, I’ve been reading a…


History Turns to Dust, Stories Live On

Highlights from “Dozakhnama”


Just finished reading Dozakhnama.

It is a very interesting novel. Originally written in Bengali by Rabisankar Bal, translated to English by the prolific translator Arunava Sinha, the novel has the legendary Urdu poet Ghalib and the famous Urdu writer of 20th century Saadat Hasan


‘Night Train’ by Martin Amis

Who says genre doesn’t have a place in literature?


Martin Amis is famous for being the son of Kingsley Amis, a writer made ‘Sir’. He…


Vikings Versus Taliban

A new Afghan War memoir gives a Danish perspective on combat and nation building


‘The Ballad of Peckham Rye’ by Muriel Spark

Spark’s early novella is a mystic, comic masterpiece that may or may not feature the Devil.


‘As Used on the Famous Nelson Mandela’ by Mark Thomas

Comedian Mark Thomas does an incredible job of uncovering the evils of the arms trade.


Faulkner’s Forgettable Poetry

Why ‘Vision in Spring’ is the worst and most revealing work Faulkner ever wrote; and why it still matters


Envy

On reading “The Strange Case of Billy Biswas”


Dear Billy Biswas. It was so unfair of you to mess up my mind while I was unwell. Leaving your comfortable, rich existence and disappearing in a tribal village like that. I envy you. Not because you had the guts to do something like that. But because you did manage to find peace by going primitive. I can identify with…


‘Saharan Journey’ by Sven Lindqvist

Originally published as the separate volumes ‘Desert Divers’ and ‘Exterminate all the Brutes’, Lindqvist’s writing is an essential…


‘The Magic of Reality’ by Richard Dawkins

Dawkins makes a successful return to popular science, though he attracts as much criticism for his work as you might expect…


‘The Etymologicon’ by Mark Forsyth

An otherwise interesting tour through the origins of some English words and expressions is spoilt by a lack of editorial attention.


‘Free Fall,’ by William Golding

Golding was an amazing writer whose talents stretch much further than just ‘The Lord of the Flies’


‘Martian Time-Slip’ by Philip K. Dick

Dick’s great pulp novel of Martian settlement deserves a second look, despite its rough edges.

Longform Literary Reviews
Longform Literary Reviews

A collection of longer book reviews, essays that go further into the text than a typical Amazon review.

More information