Writing Online


“The Empties”

“Dear Yale”

“Take The Child”


“Nobody Ever Gets Lost”


“A Safe Space for Racism” (New Republic, November 2016)

“What Are White Writers For?” (New Republic, September 2016)

“No Crying: American Cynicism and Its Cure” (Boston Review, May/June 2015)

“Native Sons” (Guernica, August 2014)

“White Flights: American Fiction’s Racial Landscape” (Boston Review, July/August 2013)

“Unmemorabilia: On Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84  (Threepenny Review, Summer 2012)

“The End of Mourning: On Tony Kushner’s The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Communism With a Key to the Scriptures” (Los Angeles Review of Books, March 15, 2012)

“Come Aboard: On Michael Ondaatje’s The Cat’s Table” (New York, October 23, 2011)

What Just Happened?: On Amy Waldman’s The Submission” (New York, August 1, 2011)

“Reproductive Rights: On Marcus Boon’s In Praise of Copying (The New Republic Online, May 22, 2011)

“The Novel Is Not Dead, Despite Some Critics’ Best Attempts” (Boston Review, May-June 2011)

“E.L. Doctorow’s Stories: On All The Time In The World (New York Times Book Review, April 3, 2011)

“The News from Shanghai: On Qiu Xiaolong’s Years of Red Dust (New York Times Book Review, 10/15/2010)

“The Children of the Storm: On Ah Cheng’s The King of Trees” (The New Republic Online, 11/9/2010)

“Eleanor Roosevelt Murdering Babies: The Theater of Wallace Shawn” (Threepenny Review, Fall 2010)

“The Grief Box: On Anne Carson’s Nox” (The New Republic Online, 7/1/2010)

“Turning Points: On David Means’ The Spot (New York Times Book Review, 6/10/2010)

“Money Trouble: On Adam Haslett’s Union Atlantic (The New Republic Online, 3/9/2010)

“Frayed Rope for a Thousand Years: On David Hinton’s Classical Chinese Poetry: An Anthology(Threepenny Review, Winter 2009/2010)

“African/American: On Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s The Thing Around Your Neck” (New York Times Book Review, 8/27/2009)

“Swept Away: On Anne Michaels’ The Winter Vault” (New York Times Book Review, 5/21/2009)

“Chinese Idol: On Yu Hua’s Brothers (New York Times Book Review, 3/5/2009)

“Portrait of My Father” (Granta, 3/4/2009)

“How Not To Be Seen: On Characters, Stereotypes, and Whatever” (lecture delivered at Vermont College of Fine Arts, Winter Residency, 2009)

“Late Registration: A Response to Some New Poems” (Drunken Boat, 2008 annual)

“Time Must Have A Stop: On Michael Ondaatje’s Divisadero” (new online edition; originally published in Threepenny Review, Winter 2008)

“Styron’s Choice” (New York Times Book Review, 9/5/2008)

“Circling the Square: On Ma Jian’s Beijing Coma” (New York Times Book Review, 7/13/2008)

“Cutting Off A Finger: Zen, Pulp Fiction, and the Logic of Storytelling” (new online edition; originally published in Kyoto Journal 66, Winter 2007)

“Paradise Lost: Cees Nooteboom Takes On Our Jet-Fueled Millenium” (Slate, 10/31/2007)

“Enormous Changes In Very Small Spaces: Grace Paley’s Greatness” (Slate, 3/9/2007)

“Haitian Fathers: On Edwidge Danticat’s Brother, I’m Dying (New York Times Book Review, 9/9/2007)

The Woman Warrior at 30: Maxine Hong Kingston’s Secrets and Lies,” (Slate, 3/27/2007)

“Her Silence Spoke Volumes: The Importance of Tillie Olsen” (Slate, 1/8/2007)

“Remembering Iron John (Slate, 8/8/2006)

“Marcus vs. Franzen: The Latest Literary Wrangling in Harper’s Leaves Everyone Confused” (Slate, 10/20/2005)

“The Other Sontag: Why Isn’t The Critic Remembered For Her Short Stories?” (Slate, 1/31/2005)