Chiaroscuro: Assorted Literary Essays

"Levi Asher tosses giddy Molotovs at faux hype, closet gender disparities, and overesteemed authors with the relish one expects from a Kropotkin acolyte. But this enjoyable collection reveals Asher to be, above all, a humane and passionate reader who understands why exuberant connection is often more important than dry analysis." - Ed Champion

"Levi Asher's collection of literary essays will give you faith in criticism again!" - Benoit LeLievre, Dead End Follies

Selected literary criticism, analysis and book reviews by Levi Asher, the celebrated blogger and founder of Literary Kicks.

An illuminating and perceptive collection of essays about contemporary and classic writers including Henry David Thoreau, T. S. Eliot, Kurt Vonnegut, John Updike, Gail Parent, Sue Kaufman, Lisa Alther, J. T. LeRoy, David Shields, Orhan Pamuk, Richard Hell, Vanessa Veselka, Sam Savage, Ken Kalfus, J. M. Coetzee, Philip Roth, Joan Didion, William Vollmann, Cormac McCarthy, Jonathan Lethem, Kiran Desai and John Banville.

With pieces like "Modernism and Postmodernism in Concrete", "Great Chick-Lit of the '70s", "J. T. LeRoy and the Scandal Season", "Five Overrated Writers", "Transgressive Visions", "Comic Visions" and "John Updike at the New York Public Library", "Chiaroscuro" offers a fresh, original and invigorating look at the meaning of literature in the 21st century.

Table of Contents

  1. On Thoreau's Walden
  2. On Eliot's Prufrock
  3. Five Overrated Writers (Philip Roth, Joan Didion, William Vollmann, Cormac McCarthy, Jonathan Lethem)
  4. Great Chick-Lit of the '70s (or, The Books That Raised Me)
  5. Kurt Vonnegut's Armageddon in Retrospect
  6. Modernism and Postmodernism in Concrete
  7. J. T. LeRoy and the Scandal Season
  8. Stay Hungry: The Reality Hunger Backlash and the 20 Minute Guitar Solo
  9. Transgressive Visions (Orhan Pamuk, Richard Hell, Vanessa Veselka)
  10. Comic Visions (Sam Savage, Ken Kalfus, J. M. Coetzee)
  11. John Updike at the New York Public Library

Chiaroscuro: Assorted Literary Essays