Crime in New York City is falling year on year – which parallels, curiously, the common complaint that the Big Apple is losing its buzz – but there is little chance that racial paranoia will subside. The film director Spike Lee has made a career of this conflict, homing in on race tensions in Do the Right Thing and Jungle Fever. But with Mona in the Promised Land, her second novel, Chinese-American writer Gish Jen is at once more subtle and more adventurous than Lee, exploring territory beyond the immediate (and predictable) clash of cultures faced by an immigrant Chinese family living in a New York City suburb.
Follow Literary Review on Twitter
‘"I feel", Lowell told Hardwick ... "as if I were pulled apart and thinning into mist, or rather being torn apart and still preferring that state to making a decision."'
Richard Davenport-Hines on the letters of Robert Lowell and Elizabeth Hardwick.
'To me, Elmore Leonard is as comforting in extremity as Pym, and as safe, in the last resort, as Wodehouse. The guys with the best lines are going to come out the other side; the dumb fucks are going to get it in the head or chest.'
'As we read, we know that in a short time the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and colour television will sweep that age over the balustrade and into the sea, but for now everyone is happy.'
Simon Baker is charmed by Graham Swift's new novel, 'Here We Are'.