Book Reviews

Dorothy Parker’s review of Ice Palace by Edna Ferber

It’s always fascinating to come upon  a review by one classic author of the work of another. In this case, Dorothy Parker’s review of Ice Palace by Edna Ferber, one of her behemoth later novels, gets the acid-penned treatment. Of the two authors, Parker is the one who has been more enduring; in their time, Ferber was one of the richest, most successful writers, something to which Parker hilariously eludes.

Parker was the book reviewer (Constant Reader) for The New Yorker for a number of years; later, she was the reviewer for Esquire, where this review was published. Keep in mind that when Ice Palace was published in 1957, Alaska was not yet a state (that would imminently happen in 1959). Read More→


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The Giant Wistaria by Charlotte Perkins Gilman – an analysis

This analysis of The Giant Wistaria (1891) — a chilling short ghost story by classic feminist author Charlotte Perkins Gilman was contributed by Jillian McKeown, excerpted from Feminist Short Stories: Horror & SCi-Fi (Part 1).

It’s shocking once you’ve finished “The Giant Wistaria” to realize that it was published in 1891, when it seems as if it were written not so long ago. The story takes place during two time periods, the 1700s and the 1800s. The former century begins with an English family and we’re dropped into the middle of the most scandalous of family dramas — their daughter has just given birth out of wedlock, and the parents are fleeing to England to escape any disgrace to their family name. Read More→


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A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor

This analysis of “A Good Man is Hard to Find” (a 1953 short story) by Flannery O’Connor, author of modern Southern gothic, was contributed by Jillian McKeown, excerpted from Feminist Short Stories: Horror & SCi-Fi (Part 1).

I knew very little about Flannery O’Connor when this collection of short stories was recommended to me.  I knew that O’Connor was Irish Catholic, and that the stories were written in the mid-20th century. 

Needless to say, as I finished the first story, which is also the namesake for my particular edition, I was completely taken aback. “The person who suggested that I read this should have warned me!” I thought. Like so many of the other stories in this article, it’s thrilling to read a gem so subversive that it still shocks nearly 70 years later. Read More→


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