Heller McAlpin http://whqr.org en 'Empathy Exams' Is A Virtuosic Manifesto Of Human Pain http://whqr.org/post/empathy-exams-virtuosic-manifesto-human-pain A boyfriend once called Leslie Jamison "a wound dweller." This is one of many personal morsels she shares in her virtuosic book of essays, <em>The Empathy Exams,</em> in which she intrepidly probes sore spots to explore how our reactions to both our own pain and that of others define us as human beings. Thu, 03 Apr 2014 11:03:00 +0000 Heller McAlpin 52826 at http://whqr.org 'Empathy Exams' Is A Virtuosic Manifesto Of Human Pain In 'Sprinkler,' A Wacky Poet Returns With New Obsessions http://whqr.org/post/sprinkler-wacky-poet-returns-new-obsessions Nicholson Baker has become a sort of poet of the particular and the peculiar. His books are filled with people who focus minutely on what captivates them – in other words, obsessives. A positive way of looking at obsession is as passion taken to an extreme. Tue, 17 Sep 2013 14:06:00 +0000 Heller McAlpin 43234 at http://whqr.org In 'Sprinkler,' A Wacky Poet Returns With New Obsessions 'Red House': A Kaleidoscope Of Family Dysfunction http://whqr.org/post/red-house-kaleidoscope-family-dysfunction You can get to know people awfully well by spending a week with them on vacation. In <em>The Red House,</em> Mark Haddon brings together two long-estranged siblings and their disjointed families for a shared holiday at a rented house on the Welsh border six weeks after their mother's funeral. Seven days comes to feel like an eternity — for his characters <em>and</em> his readers.<p>Haddon takes a kaleidoscopic approach to this tale of family dysfunction. Wed, 13 Jun 2012 11:03:00 +0000 Heller McAlpin 18353 at http://whqr.org 'Red House': A Kaleidoscope Of Family Dysfunction 'Unknown Man': The Riches Of A Terrible Past http://whqr.org/post/unknown-man-riches-terrible-past Andrei Makine has been hailed as a Russian Proust and a French Chekhov. This isn't as excessive as it sounds, though his new novel shares more with Solzhenitsyn for its vivid depiction of the hardships of war and labor camps and its critical assessment of the triviality of capitalist culture run amok.<p>There's nothing trivial about Makine's work. <em>Dreams of My Russian Summers </em>easily ranks among the favorite books I've ever reviewed. Mon, 04 Jun 2012 17:41:00 +0000 Heller McAlpin 17617 at http://whqr.org 'Unknown Man': The Riches Of A Terrible Past