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Fiction Features

Grumpy Old Men (On Richler and Sendak)

By Sarah Bernstein

At my Jewish high school in Montreal, Mordecai Richler, of course, was a bit of a hero. Whether or not he liked it, and even though he relentlessly lampooned the Jewish community, he was still one of ours. February at our school was public speaking month. So, every February, the teachers compiled and distributed a list of quotations to all of us groaning, gawky teenagers — possible speech topics from which we were to choose. . . .

Breathe, Just Breate: Christina Cooke on Zadie Smith's White Teeth

By Christina Cooke

Commendations on the novel’s thematic triumphs need not be contrived by this humble author as institutions such as The New Yorker, Guardian and Financial Times have safely lionized this text as one of the most celebrated of the past two decades. But the most striking yet undervalued aspect of White Teeth, from my reading, is Smith’s awareness of the constrictions placed upon writing by those reading it — of the insistent and insufferable question demanded ad naseum, “but what does this mean?" . . .