Parul Sehgal is a book critic at The New York Times. She was previously a columnist and senior editor at The New York Times Book Review. Her work has appeared in the Atlantic, Slate, Bookforum, The New Yorker, Tin House, and The Literary Review, among other publications, and she was awarded the Nona Balakian Award from the National Book Critics Circle for her criticism. She has been aContinue reading

Recent work

Select reviews: On Chekhov, semicolons, Sarah Schulman, Hilary Mantel, Martin Amis, Kierkegaard, Salman Rushdie, Naomi Wolf, Susan Sontag, Phillip Roth, Yiyun Li, Charles Murray, Audre Lorde, Lorraine Hansberry, Tove Ditlevsen, Lauren Oyler, Raven Leilani, the history of the New York Times Book Review, Marguerite Duras, Richard Avedon, Fleabag, Wayne Koestenbaum, George Saunders, Natalia Ginzburg, ColsonContinue reading “Recent work”

Arundhati Roy’s Fascinating Mess

By Parul Sehgal, the Atlantic, July/August 2017 To so confidently believe oneself to be on the right side of history is risky—for a writer especially. In that balmy glow of self-regard, complacency can easily take root. And good prose demands a measure of self-doubt—the worry that nags at a writer, that forces her to doubleContinue reading “Arundhati Roy’s Fascinating Mess”

Click Bait: On Diane Arbus

By Parul Sehgal, Bookforum, June 1, 2017 For years a rumor circulated that she’d set up a camera to record her suicide, to shoot her as she lay, “crunched up” in her bathtub, in the medical examiner’s words, wrists sliced to the tendons. Fear was part of what Arbus was seeking, even if she didn’tContinue reading “Click Bait: On Diane Arbus”

The Forced Heroism of the ‘Survivor’

By Parul Sehgal, The New York Times Magazine, May 5, 2016 FOR MOST OF her life, Virginia Woolf suffered from what she called “looking-glass shame,” an aversion to seeing herself in mirrors. She wrote about it late in her career, not long before her suicide, recalling that the trouble began with one particular mirror. ItContinue reading “The Forced Heroism of the ‘Survivor’”