The Emperor of All Maladies

By Siddhartha Mukherjee (Scribner) Parul Sehgal, O Magazine, November 2010 For 4,000 years, cancer has stalked us. Even as cholera and tuberculosis—the scourges of the 19th century—wilted in the wake of medical advancements and vigorous public health campaigns, the cancer cell continued to bloom. Ubiquitous but taboo (The New York Times refused to print theContinue reading “The Emperor of All Maladies”

How to Become a Scandal: Adventures in Bad Behavior

By Laura Kipnis (Holt) Parul Sehgal, Bookforum Sept. 20, 2010 Everything you think you know about James Frey is wrong. You’re wrong about Eliot Spitzer, too, and Linda Tripp, and any number of those nutty and libidinous rogues in our public pillories. According to Laura Kipnis’s coruscating new study of scandal, what we talk aboutContinue reading “How to Become a Scandal: Adventures in Bad Behavior”

The Pregnant Widow

By Martin Amis (Knopf, $26.95) Parul Sehgal, Time Out New York / Issue 763 : May 13–19, 2010 For all its ambition and verbal pyrotechnics, Martin Amis’s The Pregnant Widow is basically a book about boys and girls—or rather, one boy and many girls. It’s Amis’s most nakedly autobiographical novel since The Rachel Papers, and when theContinue reading “The Pregnant Widow”

Elif Batuman & The Possessed

Parul Sehgal, Time Out New York / Issue 754 : Mar 11–17, 2010 You’re extremely critical of modern fiction—and particularly of the American short story. Are there contemporary fiction writers you do enjoy? Yes, absolutely! My favorite living writer is Haruki Murakami, which I can’t fully explain, but there it is—I even read and enjoyedContinue reading “Elif Batuman & The Possessed”

About a Mountain

By John D’Agata. Norton, $23.95 Parul Sehgal, Time Out New York / Issue 750 : Feb 8–17, 2010 John D’Agata’s About a Mountain is, among other things, a study of political myopia, nuclear threat and activism coalescing at Yucca Mountain, where, until very recently, the federal government planned to entomb high-level nuclear waste. If he hadContinue reading “About a Mountain”

Lacan at the Scene

By Henry Bond. MIT Press, $24.95 Parul Sehgal, Time Out New York / Issue 738 : Nov 19–25, 2009 It seems insufficient to judge photographer Henry Bond’s Lacan at the Scene as being merely good or bad, when what it is, really, is audacious. Bond presents 79 forensic photographs of British crime scenes from theContinue reading “Lacan at the Scene”

An Interview with Eduardo Galeano

Through the Looking Glass: Q & A with Eduardo Galeano by Parul Sehgal, trans. from the Spanish by Mark Fried — Publishers Weekly, 4/27/2009 In Mirrors: Stories of Almost Everyone, Uruguayan writer Galeano presents miniature narratives of creation myths and current events from all over the world. What inspired this particular project? For years it was growingContinue reading “An Interview with Eduardo Galeano”