THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW – MAY 7, 2023
Face to Face With Culture’s ‘Monsters’
Claire Dederer’s deft and searching book surfaces a “fan’s dilemma” over such figures as Vladimir Nabokov, Woody Allen, Willa Cather and Roman Polanski.
Expanding on a popular essay published in The Paris Review a month after the exposure of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual predation, “Monsters” sustains an essayistic, sometimes aphoristic tone throughout 250-odd pages.
Dark Shadows, Dark Times
Welcome to three novels set in locales where life is exceedingly difficult.
By Alida Becker
AT THE HOUR BETWEEN DOG AND WOLF by Tara Ison
The title comes from a French expression for twilight. Sure enough, her novel sends us to the dusk that borders the familiar and the wild, the known and the unknown. It’s where our beliefs and suspicions can cast dark shadows over our lives. And, of course, the lives of others.
One Man’s Foray Into the Heartland of the Far Right
Alarmed by the country’s political divisions, Jeff Sharlet embarked on an anguished quest to understand the rise of antidemocratic extremism. In “The Undertow,” he documents his findings.
By Joseph O’Neill
THE UNDERTOW: Scenes From a Slow Civil War, by Jeff Sharlet
The premise of “The Undertow,” Jeff Sharlet’s anguished new book of reportage, is that the United States is “coming apart.” The disintegration is political. It involves the rise of the autocratically inclined Donald Trump; the attempt by members of the Republican Party to overthrow the election of Joe Biden in January 2021; and, during the Biden presidency, the overturning by the Supreme Court of Roe v Wade.