User's Guide

A User’s Guide to Zadie Smith

Whether writing about Brexit or defining the painful and ecstatic parameters of joy, Smith has a near preternatural understanding of the fictions we repeat to ourselves in order to function daily.

A User’s Guide to Shirley Jackson

The author wrote what she knew, but also what she believed, what she feared, and what she was constantly trying to run away from.

A User’s Guide to John Irving

When women can’t speak up, a chorus of voices should rise to their aid, though that often seems like too much to hope for. John Irving understands this in a way most male writers don’t or can’t.

A User’s Guide to Judy Blume

Or: a letter to my niece, who is five.

A User’s Guide to Kazuo Ishiguro

With The Buried Giant, the author of Never Let Me Go and The Remains of the Day has again conjured the unexpected. Here, a definitive primer on an indefinable writer.

The Sympathetic Guide to William T. Vollmann

Vollmann isn’t post-modern so much as a 19th-century Romantic, roping himself to his desk. If you’re not in the mood it’s too rich; if you are, it’s a banquet.