Maureen Corrigan

Maureen Corrigan, book critic for NPR's Fresh Air, is a critic-in-residence and lecturer at Georgetown University. She is an associate editor of and contributor to Mystery and Suspense Writers (Scribner) and the winner of the 1999 Edgar Award for Criticism, presented by the Mystery Writers of America.

Corrigan served as a juror for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction. So We Read On, her forthcoming book on the extraordinary "second act" of The Great Gatsby, will be published by Little, Brown in September 2014.

Corrigan's literary memoir, Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading! was published in 2005. Corrigan is also a reviewer and columnist for The Washington Post's Book World. In addition to serving on the advisory panel of The American Heritage Dictionary, she has chaired the Mystery and Suspense judges' panel of the Los Angeles TimesBook Prize.

Pages

4:10pm

Tue September 23, 2014
Book Reviews

After WWI, A Mother And Daughter Must Take In 'Paying Guests'

Sarah Waters' new novel, The Paying Guests, is a knockout, which isn't a word any of her characters would use.

The book opens in 1922: The Edwardian Age, with its high collars and long skirts, is dead; the Jazz Age is waiting to be born — at least, that's the case in the suburban backwater of London where Waters' main character, a 26-year-old spinster named Frances Wray, lives with her mother.

Read more

2:57pm

Thu September 11, 2014
Book Reviews

Futuristic 'Bone Clocks' Encompasses A Strange, Rich World Of Soul-Stealers

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 2:56 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Read more

2:27pm

Wed September 3, 2014
Book Reviews

'10:04': A Strange, Spectacular Novel Connecting Several Plotlines

I admired Ben Lerner's last novel a lot; in fact, I ended my review of Leaving the Atocha Station by saying that "reading it was unlike any other novel-reading experience I've had for a long time." I could say the very same thing about Lerner's brilliant new novel, 10:04, which leads me to wonder: Just how many singular reading experiences can one novelist serve up? And if every one of Lerner's novels is singular, doesn't that make them, in a way, repetitive?

Read more

2:01pm

Thu August 21, 2014
Book Reviews

Nostalgic For Noir? Feiffer's 'Kill My Mother' Is A Toxic Treat

Originally published on Fri August 22, 2014 7:56 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Read more

3:26pm

Tue August 12, 2014
Book Reviews

In A Funny New Novel, A Weary Professor Writes To 'Dear Committee Members'

Originally published on Tue August 12, 2014 3:58 pm

Marek Uliasz iStockphoto.com

For all you teachers out there contemplating the August calendar with dismay, watching, powerless, as the days of summer vacation dwindle down to a precious few, I have some consolation to offer: a hilarious academic novel that'll send you laughing (albeit ruefully) back into the trenches of the classroom.

Read more

2:02pm

Tue July 29, 2014
Book Reviews

'Ride Around Shining' Reimagines Gatsby's Nouveau-Riche Excess

Originally published on Tue July 29, 2014 3:54 pm

Most sports novels are about the aspiration to excel physically: to run faster, stretch out one's arms farther. The really cool thing about Ride Around Shining, a debut novel by Chris Leslie-Hynan, is that it doesn't stick to that familiar rule book. Even though it's set in the world of pro basketball, our narrator here is not the guy who aspires to be a great player; rather, he's the guy who aspires to be a great suck-up to the great player.

Read more

2:27pm

Thu July 24, 2014
Book Reviews

'Panic In A Suitcase' Puts A Fresh Spin On A Coming-To-America Story

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 10:17 am

There's a wonderful 1982 memoir called An Orphan in History by the late Village Voice writer Paul Cowan. It's about Cowan's search for his European Jewish roots, and in it he says something about the sacrifices of older generations of immigrants that's always stayed with me. Cowan says: "Millions of immigrant families . . . left the economically and culturally confining Old World towns where they were raised, and paid for the freedom and prosperity this country offered with their pasts."

Read more

3:34pm

Mon July 14, 2014
Book Reviews

'Mockingbird Next Door': A Genteel Peek Into Harper Lee's Quiet Life

Originally published on Mon July 14, 2014 9:53 pm

It's probably the most oft-cited literary fantasy of all time: I'm talking about that passage in Catcher in the Rye where Holden Caulfield says: "What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn't happen much, though."

Read more

3:02pm

Thu July 10, 2014
Books

10 Years Later, Mystery Heroine 'Maisie Dobbs' Gains New Life

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 5:02 pm

If you asked mystery fans to name the most important novel of the past decade, most would say The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo — and they'd be right. In fact, Stieg Larsson's complete Millennium series, flanked by hordes of Nordic noirs by the likes of Henning Mankell, Camilla Lackberg and Jo Nesbo, have overrun the ranks of hard-boiled detective fiction, imbuing it with their distinctive strain of brittle dialogue and chill fatalism.

Read more

2:49pm

Wed July 2, 2014
Book Reviews

'Friendship': A Startlingly Nice Novel By A Tough-Girl Blogger

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Our book critic, Maureen Corrigan, has a review of the new novel "Friendship" by Emily Gould who made her name in the blogosphere. A recent profile in the New York Times Sunday style section described Gould as a forerunner to Lena Dunham and other confessional female bloggers, writers and filmmakers or whom over-sharing has become an art form.

Read more

2:09pm

Thu June 26, 2014
Book Reviews

'Most Dangerous Book': A Rich Treasury Charting James Joyce's 'Ulysses'

There are many heroes in the tale of how James Joyce's masterpiece, Ulysses, which was banned for over 10 years throughout the English-speaking world, finally won its long battle to be legally published, sold and read. Kevin Birmingham tells that extraordinary story in his new book about Ulysses, called The Most Dangerous Book.

Read more

3:31pm

Tue June 10, 2014
Book Reviews

'Rise And Fall' Carries On Vagabond Adventure Tale Tradition

guldfisken via Flickr

Any novel that opens on a young American woman running a bookshop in a small town nestled in the Welsh countryside promises a glimpse into a life lived far from the madding crowd. That's the quaint plotline Tom Rachman's new novel tells uninterruptedly for the length of one brief chapter. Thereafter, Rachman returns only occasionally to the World's End bookshop and its shelves sporting idiosyncratic labels like: Artists Who Were Unpleasant to Their Spouses; History, the Dull Bits; and Books You Pretend to Have Read but Haven't.

Read more

3:24pm

Thu May 22, 2014
Book Reviews

A Second Posthumous Collection From Rock Critic Ellen Willis

Originally published on Thu May 22, 2014 3:54 pm

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. Ellen Willis was the first rock critic for The New Yorker is. She was also a radical feminist writer and activist. Her work appeared in the Village Voice, where she was a columnist, as well as in Rolling Stone and The Nation.

Read more

4:20pm

Wed May 21, 2014
Book Reviews

'Chameleon' Has Cabaret, Spies And A Plot Fit For Lifetime

German troops march towards Paris' Arc de Triomphe in 1943.
Keystone Getty Images

Even the most restrained plot summary of Francine Prose's latest novel sounds like a teaser for a late night Lifetime TV movie. Here goes: In the Paris of the late 1920s, a butch lesbian race car driver named Lou Villars has her license revoked by the French government for daring to dress as a man in public. Lou goes on to become a performer in a risque review at the Chameleon Club, a smoky nightclub where threadbare artists and thrill-seeking aristocrats mingle in the half-light.

Read more

1:43pm

Mon May 5, 2014
Book Reviews

In 'Hotel Florida,' Three Couples Chronicle The Spanish Civil War

Originally published on Mon May 5, 2014 3:40 pm

Ernest Hemingway and his third wife, Martha Gellhorn, at the Sun Valley Lodge in Idaho.
AP

There's something romantic about biographer Amanda Vaill's device of making the Hotel Florida in Madrid the hub of her new book about the Spanish Civil War, called Hotel Florida; but, then again, there's always been something romantic about the Spanish Civil War itself. For the Spanish loyalists — who were supported by Russia and Mexico as well as the International Brigades of civilians from Europe and the Americas — the Spanish Civil War was a gallant stand against fascism.

Read more

Pages