Meg Wolitzer's fat, talky new novel begins in 1974 at an arts camp in the Berkshires where six teenagers sit around in a teepee smoking pot and discussing Gunter Grass. Yes, Gunter Grass, which gives you an idea of the kind of kids Wolitzer is writing about: smart, privileged, pretentious.
Brian Kimberling's debut novel, Snapper, is a lovely, loose-limbed collection of stories about an aimless ornithologist named Nate, who as the book opens is possessed of a glitter-covered pickup truck and a massive (somewhat requited) crush on redheaded dream girl Lola. Nate and his friends wander toward marriage and maturity over the course of 13 linked stories — encountering angry snapping turtles, bald eagles and mystic mechanics along the way.
Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 11:50 am
My earliest memory of code switching is at Pizza Hut, back when Pizza Huts were sit-down restaurants with salad bars and garlic bread. (Like any daughter of immigrants, most of my memories involve food.) My mom and dad would speak with the waiters in English, ordering our pan-crust pizzas and Pepsi products, but we used Mandarin at the table. Our Mandarin was our secret code.