Archives: Chris Schahfer

This is the archive page for the category [Chris Schahfer]; below you should see headlines and summaries of all entries found here on the subject. Click the appropriate link at each to read the entire entry.

Book Review: "How to Set a Fire and Why: A Novel," by Jesse Ball | August 10, 2016
Today at CCLaP, Chris Schahfer reviews "How to Set a Fire and Why," Jesse Ball's latest novel. Says Chris, "it's a dark-humored and socially engaged twist on the coming-of-age story." | Read entire entry

Book Review: "The Vegetarian," by Han Kang | August 3, 2016
Today at CCLaP, Chris Schahfer reviews "the Vegetarian," a surreal allegory from Han Kang. Says Chris, "I do more of her work is translated, because I appreciate her surrealist sensibility." | Read entire entry

Book Review: "A Manual for Cleaning Women," by Lucia Berlin | July 27, 2016
(CCLaP is dedicated to reviewing as many contemporary books as possible, including self-published volumes; click here to learn how to submit your own book for possible review, although be warned that it needs to have been published within the last... | Read entire entry

First Time Around: "You Bright and Risen Angels," by William T. Vollmann | July 20, 2016
Today at CCLaP, Chris Schahfer reviews William T. Vollmann's "You Bright and Risen Angels: A Cartoon," as part of his First Time Around series. Says Chris, "Cartoon or not, 'You Bright and Risen Angels' is well worth reading." | Read entire entry

Book Review: "Queen of the Jews," by N.L. Herzenberg | July 13, 2016
(CCLaP is dedicated to reviewing as many contemporary books as possible, including self-published volumes; click here to learn how to submit your own book for possible review, although be warned that it needs to have been published within the last... | Read entire entry

Book Review: "What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours," by Helen Oyeyemi | July 6, 2016
Today at CCLaP, Chris Schahfer reviews "What Is Not Yours is Not Yours," the new collection from the acclaimed British author Helen Oyeyemi. Says Chris, "the most fun, unique and involving new collection I've read this year, I'd wager." | Read entire entry

Book Review: "Margaret the First," by Danielle Dutton | June 29, 2016
Today at CCLaP, Chris Schahfer reviews Danielle Dutton's "Margaret the First," a historical fiction novel. Says Chris, "I have to admit I didn't expect Dutton to follow up her great 2010 novel Sprawl, perhaps the only impressionistic comic novel I've ever read, with a work of historical fiction." | Read entire entry

First Time Around: "Americana," by Don DeLillo | June 22, 2016
Today at CCLaP, Chris Schahfer reviews Don DeLillo's "Americana," part of both his First Time Around series and his Don DeLillo mini-retrospective. Says Chris, "Here we have his first novel, and it's quite the strange one indeed." | Read entire entry

Book Review: "Zero K," by Don DeLillo | June 15, 2016
(CCLaP is dedicated to reviewing as many contemporary books as possible, including self-published volumes; click here to learn how to submit your own book for possible review, although be warned that it needs to have been published within the last... | Read entire entry

Book Review: "Bottom of the Ninth," by Wyl Villacres | June 8, 2016
Today at CCLaP, Chris Schahfer reviews Wyl Villacres' baseball-themed "Bottom of the Ninth." Says Chris, "Villacres uses the occasional bit of baseball jargon, like "suicide squeeze" or "6-3-4 double play," but his main points lie elsewhere." | Read entire entry

Book Review: "The Relevator," by Robert Kloss | June 1, 2016
Today at CCLaP, Chris Schahfer reviews, "The Relevator," a Southern Gothic-type novel by Robert Kloss. Says Chris, "If you're a fan of Cormac McCarthy's pre-All the Pretty Horses novels, you might find yourself quite comfortable in the Relevator's decidedly dark landscape." | Read entire entry

First Time Around: "Purple Hibiscus," by Chimamanda Ngoze Adiche | May 25, 2016
Today at CCLaP, Chris Schahfer reviews Chimamanda Ngoze Adiche's "Purple Hibiscus," as part of his "First Time Around" series. Says Chris, "You know how sometimes debuts by prominent authors are underdeveloped? Not the case here." | Read entire entry

Book Review: "Ohio Portraits, Vol. 1: A Midwestern Micromemoir," by Erika D. Price | May 18, 2016
Today at CCLaP, Chris Schahfer reviews Erika D. Price's "Ohio Portraits, Vol. 1: A Midwestern Micromemoir," whose title is quite self-explanatory. Says Chris, "I appreciated the variety of moods, and the writing is pretty solid. With a little more to connect the fragments, this really could've been something." | Read entire entry

Book review: "How to be Drawn," by Terrance Hayes | May 11, 2016
Today at CCLaP, Chris Schahfer reviews "How to be Drawn," a daring collection of poetry by Terrance Hayes. Says Chris, "it's his best collection to date, pushing forward his interest in experimental forms, his tributes to his influences, and his themes of racial identity so they form a terrific net of themes and forms." | Read entire entry

Book Review: "Eileen," by Ottessa Moshfegh | May 4, 2016
Today at CCLaP, Chris Schahfer reviews "Eileen," a sort of black comedy. Says Chris, "Eileen's world isn't a happy one, but it's so well-rendered that it's worth spending some time in just the same." | Read entire entry

First Time Around: "White Teeth," by Zadie Smith | April 27, 2016
Today at CCLaP, Chris Schahfer reviews Zadie Smith's "White Teeth" as part of his First Time Around series. Says Chris,"Some readers are skeptical of anything that wins as many prizes as White Teeth did, but every so often the prize committee gets it right." | Read entire entry

Book Review: "The Best of Black Heart 2014," edited by Edited by Laura Roberts, M. Chaistan Flournoy, and Danielle White | April 20, 2016
Today at CCLaP, Chris Schahfer reviews the retrospective "Best of Black Heart 2014." Says Chris, "Some of the short stories are interesting conceptually, but I felt like I was reading first drafts of even the better ones." | Read entire entry

Book Review: "A Cure for Suicide," by Jesse Ball | April 13, 2016
Today at CCLaP, Chris Schahfer reviews A Cure for Suicide, the latest novel from eccentric Jesse Ball. Says Chris, "He already wrote this book. He wrote it in 2007 and called it Samedi the Deafness." | Read entire entry

Book Review: "Seeing Red," by Lina Meruane | April 7, 2016
Today at CCLaP, Chris Schahfer reviews "Seeing Red," Lina Meruane's novel-memoir about blindness. Says Chris, "Meruane made me empathize with her character by showing me the fear and frustration behind her unpleasant traits." | Read entire entry

First Time Around: "Angels," by Denis Johnson | March 30, 2016
Today at CCLaP, Chris Schahfer reviews Denis Johnson's "Angels" as part of his "First Time Around" series. Says Chris, "it's an invitation for those on the center to have empathy for those on the outside." | Read entire entry

Book Review: "Fiery Cocoon: Beyond Loss and Fear," by Clarissa Fitzgerald | March 23, 2016
Today at CCLAP, Chris Schahfer reviews the memoir "Fiery Cocoon," by Clarissa Fitzgerlad. Says Chris, "The story could've been compelling, but the clumsy writing makes the whole project a slog." | Read entire entry

Book Review: "Cries for Help, Various," by Padgett Powell | March 16, 2016
Today at CCLaP, Chris Schahfer reviews cult favorite Padgett Powell's latest collection, "Cries for Help, Various." Says Chris, " I know I call a lot of books funny, but this is one of the funniest I've read all year." | Read entire entry

Book Review: "Viral," by Emily Mitchell | March 9, 2016
Today at CCLaP, Chris Schahfer reviews Emily Mitchell's highly topical collection Viral. Says Chris, "It's a fun read with a good amount of serious poking through. | Read entire entry

First Time Around: "Omensetter's Luck," by William H. Gass | March 1, 2016
Today at CCLaP, Chris Schahfer reviews William H. Gass' "Omensetter's Luck" as part of his "First Time Around" series. Says Chris, "it's a unique work of art, one that eschews traditional approaches to plot and character development." | Read entire entry

Book Review: "F 250," by Bud Smith | February 24, 2016
Today at CCLAP, Chris Schahfer reviews Bud Smith's novel F 250, based around a noise rock guitarist. Says Chris, "the lack of momentum in the novel becomes frustrating." | Read entire entry

Book Review: "Haints Stay," by Colin Winnette | February 17, 2016
Today at CCLAP: Chris Schahfer reviews Colin Winnette's bizarre western "Haints Stay." Says Chris, "John Wayne wouldn't set foot in these woods. Instead, you get a mix of the anti-western, surrealism, and flat-out creepiness." | Read entire entry

Book Review: "sometimes i lie and sometimes i don't," by Nadja Spiegel | February 9, 2016
Today at CCLAP, Chris Schahfer reviews Nadja Spiegel's "Sometimes I Lie and Sometimes I Don't," a collection of vignette-stories. Says Chris, "maybe I wasn't the ideal reader for this book, but plenty about it still satisfied me." | Read entire entry

First Time Around: "Neuromancer," by William Gibson | February 3, 2016
Neuromancer By William Gibson, 1984 Reviewed by Chris Schahfer I don't often get the chance to flex my sci-fi muscle around here. I'm not sure if that's because I'm just not that up on what's currently going on in... | Read entire entry

Book Review: Joanna Walsh, "Vertigo" | January 27, 2016
Today at CCLAP, Chris Schahfer reviews Joanna Walsh's collection "Vertigo," a deep exploration of its characters' inner lives. Says Chris, "It's a mystifying reading experience, but consider me impressed." | Read entire entry

Book Review: "Kinda Sorta American Dream," by Steve Karas | January 20, 2016
Excerpt: today at CCLAP, Chris Schahfer reviews Steve Karas' debut, "Kinda Sorta American Dream." Says Chris, "he's a funny and sharp observer of good old human behavior, capable of getting to the heart of things and working out what's behind a bizarre situation | Read entire entry

First Time Around: "The Bluest Eye," by Toni Morrison | January 13, 2016
Today at CCLaP, Chris Schahfer starts his First Time Around series, which covers first novels, with Toni Morrison's "The Bluest Eye." Says Chris, "It's surprising and enlightening to double back on the work of one of one of America's best loved and best established novelists and discover how she wrote before things set in a little." | Read entire entry

The Year in Books 2015: Chris Schahfer's Favorites | December 30, 2015
Welcome to day 3 of CCLaP's annual "Year in Books" report! Today we look at reviewer Chris Schahfer's six personally favorite reads of 2015. | Read entire entry

The Year in Books 2015: Best of the Best | December 28, 2015
Welcome to day 1 of CCLaP's annual "Year in Books" report! Today we look at the 12 absolutely highest scoring books of 2015 by our entire staff, out of the 90 we collectively reviewed this year. | Read entire entry

The Year in Books 2015 | December 28, 2015
It's been another busy year at the CCLaP blog, and here's our annual look at our favorite 40 books we as a staff reviewed here in 2015, out of the 90 book reviews we ended up publishing. Click through for links to all five of the specialized reports we're posting here this week. | Read entire entry

Book Review: "The Heart Goes Last," by Margaret Atwood | December 3, 2015
Excerpt: Today at CCLAP, Chris Schahfer reviews Margaret Atwood's the Heart Goes Last, a comedic dystopian novel. Says Chris, "this doesn't do much more than rehash old Atwood tropes and ask the reader to invest themselves in some of her thinnest characters yet." | Read entire entry

Book Review: "The Argonauts," by Maggie Nelson | November 19, 2015
Today at CCLAP, Chris Schahfer reviews Maggie Nelson's the Argonauts, a memoir with a philosophical bent. Says Chris, "You can put whatever center you want on it, gender or critical theory, motherhood memoir or love story or political commentary, and it's still an excellent book." | Read entire entry

Book Review: "Morning and Evening," by Jon Fosse | November 5, 2015
Today at CCLaP, Chris Schahfer reviews Jon Fosse's "Morning and Evening," a novel about a man's birth and older years. Says Chris, "As long as Fosse keeps things moving, he's engaging, and his extreme stream-of-consciousness style is impressive." | Read entire entry

Book Review: "Half an Inch of Water," by Percival Everett | October 22, 2015
(CCLaP is dedicated to reviewing as many contemporary books as possible, including self-published volumes; click here to learn how to submit your own book for possible review, although be warned that it needs to have been published within the last... | Read entire entry

Book Review: "Mãn," by Kim Thuy | October 1, 2015
(CCLaP is dedicated to reviewing as many contemporary books as possible, including self-published volumes; click here to learn how to submit your own book for possible review, although be warned that it needs to have been published within the last... | Read entire entry

Book Review: "The First Bad Man," by Miranda July | September 17, 2015
(CCLaP is dedicated to reviewing as many contemporary books as possible, including self-published volumes; click here to learn how to submit your own book for possible review, although be warned that it needs to have been published within the last... | Read entire entry

Stalking the Behemoth: "2666," by Roberto Bolaño | September 10, 2015
Today at CCLaP, Chris Schahfer reviews Roberto Bolano's "2666" as the final entry of his Stalking the Behemoth series. Says Chris, it's a "spellbinding and terrifying work that seeps into your subconscious." | Read entire entry

Book Review: "City of Brick and Shadow," by Tim Wirkus | September 3, 2015
Today at CCLaP, Chris Schahfer reviews Tim Wirkus' "City of Brick and Shadow," a noir about Mormons. Says Chris, "It's an entertaining debut that could see for more meat." | Read entire entry

Book Review: "Between the World and Me," by Ta-Nehisi Coates | August 20, 2015
Today at CCLaP, Chris Schahfer reviews Ta-Nahisi Coates' "Between the World and Me," an inquiry into modern American race relations. Says Chris, "Between the World and Me is a reminder of why I read." | Read entire entry

Stalking the Behemoth: "Infinite Jest," by David Foster Wallace | August 6, 2015
Today at CCLAP, Chris Schahfer reviews David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest as part of his "Stalking the Behemoth" series. He praises the book for "brilliantly crafted language, exquisite attention to detail, a great matchup of form and content, and characters that jump off the page." | Read entire entry

Book Review: "Stone Mattress," by Margaret Atwood | July 30, 2015
Today at CCLaP, Chris Schahfer reviews Margaret Atwood's "Stone Mattress," a collection of fairy-tale flavored stories. Says Chris, "The best stories have a great blend of fairy tale weirdness and acute character examination." | Read entire entry

Stalking the Behemoth: "Women and Men," by Joseph McElroy | July 9, 2015
Excerpt: Today at CCLaP, Chris Schahfer reviews Joseph McElroy's "Women and Men," a massive novel about two apartment-mates who never meet, as part of his Stalking the Behemoth series. Says Chris, " this is the eighth-longest novel in the English language, which means it has all sorts of secrets buried in it." | Read entire entry

Book Review: "On Immunity: an Innoculation," by Eula Biss | July 2, 2015
(CCLaP is dedicated to reviewing as many contemporary books as possible, including self-published volumes; click here to learn how to submit your own book for possible review, although be warned that it needs to have been published within the last... | Read entire entry

Book Review: "Women" by Chloe Caldwell | June 18, 2015
(CCLaP is dedicated to reviewing as many contemporary books as possible, including self-published volumes; click here to learn how to submit your own book for possible review, although be warned that it needs to have been published within the last... | Read entire entry

Stalking the Behemoth: "Dhalgren," by Samuel R. Delany | June 11, 2015
Today at CCLAP, Chris Schahfer reviews Samuel R. Delany's cult sci-fi novel Dhalgren as part of his "Stalking the Behemoth" series. Says Chris, "this novel makes all sorts of challenges to the sci-fi institution." | Read entire entry

Book Review: "Conversations with Beethoven," by Sanford Friedman | June 4, 2015
(CCLaP is dedicated to reviewing as many contemporary books as possible, including self-published volumes; click here to learn how to submit your own book for possible review, although be warned that it needs to have been published within the last... | Read entire entry

Book Review: "God Help the Child" by Toni Morrison | May 21, 2015
(CCLaP is dedicated to reviewing as many contemporary books as possible, including self-published volumes; click here to learn how to submit your own book for possible review, although be warned that it needs to have been published within the last... | Read entire entry

Stalking the Behemoth: "Gravity's Rainbow," by Thomas Pynchon | May 14, 2015
Today at CCLaP, Chris Schahfer reviews "Gravity's Rainbow," Thomas Pynchon's most renowned work. He invites a first- time reader of Pynchon to "forget about those expectations about what fiction 'should' be and let yourself be amazed." | Read entire entry

Book Review: "Gutshot" by Amelia Gray | May 14, 2015
Today at CCLaP, Chris Schahfer reviews Amelia Gray's "Gutshot," a collection of surreal and darkly comedic stories. Says Chris, "Gray's characters may be stuck in unlikely situations, but those situations still have a real impact on them, and she knows how to make you feel that impact." | Read entire entry

Book Review: "Metamorphosis," by Nicholas Mosley | April 23, 2015
Today at CCLaP, Chris Schahfer reviews Nicholas Mosley's "Metamorphosis," which Chris found interesting in its concepts but lacking as an actual novel: "I'm all about the novel of ideas, but you have to have some novel to back up your ideas, and that's just not happening here." | Read entire entry

Stalking the Behemoth: "The Sot-Weed Factor," by John Barth | April 16, 2015
Today at CCLAP, Chris Schahfer reviews "The Sot-Weed Factor," John Barth's influential postmodern comedy, as part of his "Stalking the Behemoth" series. Says Chris, "you can think of it as a great bawdy comedy or a study of identity or a building-of-the-artist." | Read entire entry

Book Review: "An Untamed State," by Roxane Gay | April 7, 2015
Today at CCLaP, Chris Schahfer reviews Roxane Gay's "An Untamed State," which tells the story of an American woman kidnapped in Haiti. Says Chris, it turns "from kidnap narrative to road novel as it moves along." | Read entire entry

Book Review: "The Empathy Exams" by Leslie Jamison | March 26, 2015
Today at CCLaP, Chris Schahfer reviews Leslie Jamison's "The Empathy Exams," an essay collection exploring the limits of empathy in both individuals and among society. Says Chris, "It's hard to argue with a collection this vivd and fully conceived." | Read entire entry

Stalking the Behemoth: "The Recognitions," by William Gaddis | March 19, 2015
Today in his CCLaP essay series "Stalking the Behemoth," Chris Schahfer takes on the challenging 900-page novel that many people consider the birth of Postmodernism, William Gaddis' "The Recognitions." | Read entire entry

Book review: "Sidewalks," Valeria Luiselli | March 12, 2015
Today at CCLaP, Chris Schahfer reviews Valeria Luiselli's new cutting-edge essay collection about travel, "Sidewalks." | Read entire entry

Book Review: "Praying Drunk," Kyle Minor | February 26, 2015
Today at CCLaP, Chris Schahfer reviews Kyle Minor's "Praying Drunk," a story collection with linked characters that makes it grander in scope than the typical book of shorts. Says Chris, "I don't know if this will be the best book I review all year, but Kyle Minor's doing some enviable work right now." | Read entire entry

Stalking the Behemoth: "Ulysses," by James Joyce | February 23, 2015
Ulysses By James Joyce, 1922 Reviewed by Chris Schahfer A theory for you: there's not a Joyce fan alive who loves every chapter of Ulysses. You'd have to either be an insane frothing-at-the-mouth James Joyce freak who worships every... | Read entire entry

Book Review: "Bark: Stories," by Lorrie Moore | February 12, 2015
Today at CCLaP, Chris Schahfer reviews Lorrie Moore's "Bark," and laments the fact that the day is finally here where he is disappointed by a Lorrie Moore book. | Read entire entry

Book Review: "A Little Lumpen Novelita," by Roberto Bolaño | January 29, 2015
Today at CCLaP, Chris Schahfer reviews Robert Bolano's newest English translation, "A Little Lumpen Novelita," which he defines as classic minor Bolano -- "I can't at all call it bad, but it's definitely inessential." | Read entire entry

Stalking the Behemoth: "the Brothers Karamazov," by Fyodor Dostoevsky | January 21, 2015
The Brothers Karamazov By Fyodor Dostoevsky, 1880 Reviewed by Chris Schahfer A massive book, and not just because eight hundred pages, while not a patch on Proust, is fat. No, the Brothers Karamazov is full of huge ideas about... | Read entire entry

Book review: "Citizen: An American Lyric," Claudia Rankine | January 15, 2015
Today at CCLaP, Chris Schahfer reviews Claudia Rankine's "Citizen: An American Lyric," an experimental hybrid of poetry, prose and essays that tackles in Chris's words the "recent events that have brought the post-racial dream crashing violently against reality." | Read entire entry

Stalking the Behemoth: Moby-Dick; or, the Whale | December 31, 2014
Moby-Dick; or, the Whale By Herman Melville (1851) Reviewed by Chris Schahfer Pop culture is a strange and fascinating beast, but like many of its ilk, it's easy to hate. Now, I could never stay mad at it, but... | Read entire entry

Book Review: "Let Go and Go On and On," Tim Kinsella | December 29, 2014
(CCLaP is dedicated to reviewing as many contemporary books as possible, including self-published volumes; click here to learn how to submit your own book for possible review, although be warned that it needs to have been published within the last... | Read entire entry

Stalking the Behemoth: Don Quixote | November 3, 2014
Today in "Stalking the Behemoth," Chris Schahfer's essay series examining 600-plus-page novels throughout history, a look at the one that started them all, Miguel de Cervantes' 1605 "Don Quixote." | Read entire entry

Meet Chris Schahfer, CCLaP's newest book reviewer! | October 21, 2014
I hope you'll have a chance to welcome Chicago MFA candidate Chris Schahfer, who just came on this week as CCLaP's newest book reviewer. Click through for more details on him and what he'll be writing for us. | Read entire entry

Book Review: "Can't and Won't," by Lydia Davis | October 14, 2014
(CCLaP is dedicated to reviewing as many contemporary books as possible, including self-published volumes; click here to learn how to submit your own book for possible review, although be warned that it needs to have been published within the last... | Read entire entry