Murakami’s usual flights of fancy can’t save the mundane Killing Commendatore

D-

The unnamed narrator of Haruki Murakami’s new novel, Killing Commendatore, is a recently divorced painter. He resents the marvelous success he’s had as a portrait artist for the wealthy and wishes to use his newfound freedom to get back to his artistic roots. After accepting an invitation to live at the unoccupied…

A “tragi-comic” memoir from comedian Adam Cayton-Holland is mostly tragedy

B

Although Adam Cayton-Holland’s first book is subtitled “A Tragi-Comic Memoir,” fans of his comedy and/or his TV show should expect little, if any, of the “comic” part. “A tragic memoir” doesn’t sound as zippy, but it better reflects the devastating story within Tragedy + Time: the suicide of Cayton-Holland’s younger…

In the zombie apocalypse of Ling Ma’s Severance, the real monsters are the living

A-

In an early chapter of Ling Ma’s debut novel, Severance, a genre-savvy character details the difference between vampire and zombie stories. “With vampire narrative, the danger lies in the villain’s intentions, his underlying character. There are good vampires, there are bad vampires… [The zombie narrative is] not…

Parker Posey’s offbeat You’re On An Airplane is the rare celebrity memoir worth reading

B+

Early in the actor’s career, Parker Posey once spazzed out so much during an audition that the casting director asked her agent if she was on drugs. “I wasn’t,” Posey recounts in her memoir, “but just had a lot of energy and was excited to be there.” As it was in person, so it goes on the page. In You’re On An Airplane

Legendary critic Michiko Kakutani reviews all the president’s lies in The Death Of Truth

B+

If the role of the critic is to “educate the public,” as Oscar Wilde once wrote, Michiko Kakutani couldn’t have picked a worse time to retire from her post as chief book critic of The New York Times last July. Sure, serving for three decades as arguably the most important gatekeeper in literary publishing warrants a…