Heller McAlpin

Heller McAlpin is a New York-based critic who reviews books regularly for NPR.org, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Christian Science Monitor, The San Francisco Chronicle and other publications.

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Book Reviews
6:03 am
Thu July 5, 2012

Dethroning The 'Drama Queen Of The Mind'

Originally published on Thu July 5, 2012 12:26 pm

Here's one less thing for Daniel Smith to worry about: He sure can write. In Monkey Mind, a memoir of his lifelong struggles with anxiety, he defangs the experience with a winning combination of humor and understanding.

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Book Reviews
6:03 am
Tue July 3, 2012

'Gold' Offers A Winning Take On Cycling

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You're going to be hearing a lot about Chris Cleave's gold-medal performance in his first novel since his mega-best-seller, Little Bee. That's because Gold is a heart-pounding, winning tearjerker about three elite cyclists fiercely competing through three successive Olympics — including, most topically, the one about to take place in London this summer. If Olympic medals were awarded for dramatic stories about what drives athletes to compete and succeed, Cleave would easily ascend the podium.

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Book Reviews
6:03 am
Wed June 13, 2012

'Red House': A Kaleidoscope Of Family Dysfunction

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Originally published on Wed June 13, 2012 7:03 am

You can get to know people awfully well by spending a week with them on vacation. In The Red House, 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 and his readers.

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Book Reviews
6:03 am
Wed May 16, 2012

'The Chemistry Of Tears' And The Art Of Healing

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Originally published on Wed May 16, 2012 4:28 pm

Peter Carey's dazzling new novel, The Chemistry of Tears, encompasses heartbreak, the comfort of absorbing work, the transformative power of beauty and the soul of an old machine. If you've never read the Australian-born, two-time Booker Prize–winning author of Oscar and Lucinda and True History of the Kelly Gang — or, most recently, Parrot and Olivier in America — his 12th novel is a terrific introduction to his work.

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Book Reviews
6:03 am
Tue May 15, 2012

'Home': Toni Morrison's Taut, Triumphant New Novel

Timothy Greenfield-Sanders Courtesy Knopf

Originally published on Tue May 15, 2012 8:24 am

There are topics you may think you've had enough of — racism, slavery, anti-Semitism, the Holocaust — but then you read a book like Toni Morrison's new novel and realize, as Samuel Beckett put it, "All has not been said and never will be." Home is gorgeous and intense, brutal yet heartwarming — and could only have been written by the author of Beloved and Sula. Deceptively slight, it is like a slingshot that wields the impact of a missile.

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