Alan Cheuse

Alan Cheuse has been reviewing books on All Things Considered since the 1980s. His challenge is to make each two-minute review as fresh and interesting as possible while focusing on the essence of the book itself.

Formally trained as a literary scholar, Cheuse writes fiction and novels and publishes short stories. He is the author of five novels, five collections of short stories and novellas, and the memoir Fall Out of Heaven. His prize-winning novel To Catch the Lightning is an exploration of the intertwined plights of real-life frontier photographer Edward Curtis and the American Indian. His latest work of book-length fiction is the novel Song of Slaves in the Desert, which tells the story of a Jewish rice plantation-owning family in South Carolina and the Africans they enslave. His latest collection of short fiction is An Authentic Captain Marvel Ring and Other Stories. With Caroline Marshall, he has edited two volumes of short stories. A new version of his 1986 novel The Grandmothers' Club will appear in March, 2015 as Prayers for the Living.

With novelist Nicholas Delbanco, Cheuse wrote Literature: Craft & Voice, a major new introduction to literary study. Cheuse's short fiction has appeared in publications such as The New Yorker, The Antioch Review, Ploughshares, and The Southern Review. His essay collection, Listening to the Page, appeared in 2001.

Cheuse teaches writing at George Mason University, spends his summers in Santa Cruz, California, and leads fiction workshops at the Squaw Valley Community of Writers. He earned his Ph.D. in comparative literature with a focus on Latin American literature from Rutgers University.

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Book Reviews
8:34 am
Thu March 5, 2015

Montana's Almost Crowded Now, Thanks To The Colorful Characters Of 'Crow Fair'

Originally published on Thu March 5, 2015 7:03 am

I recall with a certain fondness a summer evening long ago at the Bennington Summer Writing Workshops, when Montana resident Richard Ford opened a reading from the work of Montana writer William Kittredge by saying, "Well, it's Montana Night at the workshops, and it's just like Montana. Hours will go by, and all you will see are two people."

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Book Reviews
4:44 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

Book Review: 'Satin Island' By Tom McCarthy

Originally published on Fri February 27, 2015 8:13 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Now, "Satin Island." It's the title of the new book by Tom McCarthy, the acclaimed experimental novelist. It is a novel, but our reviewer Alan Cheuse says it might be more apt to call it a critique of modern life, dressed in a novel's clothing.

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Book Reviews
4:56 pm
Mon February 23, 2015

Book Review: Ross Ritchell's 'The Knife'

Originally published on Mon February 23, 2015 6:40 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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Book Reviews
4:00 pm
Mon February 16, 2015

Book Review: 'The Evening Chorus'

Originally published on Mon February 16, 2015 7:35 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

If you like dark and lyrical love stories, Alan Cheuse has a suggestion for you. It's a novel by the Canadian writer Helen Humphreys, set during World War II and its aftermath. It's called "The Evening Chorus."

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Book Reviews
8:03 am
Tue January 6, 2015

'Descent' Is A Twisty Thriller-Plus

Originally published on Tue January 6, 2015 7:03 am

The premise of Descent may sound pretty straight-forward: One summer morning while vacationing with her family in the foothills of the Rockies, a young girl, a high-school athlete in her senior year, goes out for a run in the higher altitudes — and disappears.

And Moby-Dick's about the whaling industry.

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Book Reviews
4:26 pm
Fri December 26, 2014

Joyce Carol Oates Wades Into Troubled Waters With 'The Sacrifice'

Originally published on Sat January 31, 2015 1:23 pm

With great energy and a cold eye for contemporary American race relations, here comes Joyce Carol Oates with a new novel that shows off her muck-raking credentials. The Sacrifice faces squarely an incident that took place in upstate New York nearly thirty years ago in which a young black girl named Tawana Brawley claimed that a group of white males, mostly police officers, kidnapped her and gang-raped her over a number of days.

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Book Reviews
4:18 pm
Tue December 2, 2014

Book Review: 'A Map Of Betrayal'

Originally published on Tue December 2, 2014 6:24 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Most spy thrillers are about coldhearted people betraying one nation for another. But a new novel from Ha Jin was inspired by spy who, when he was caught, insisted he was looking out for two countries. Alan Cheuse has a review of "A Map Of Betrayal."

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Book News & Features
4:24 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

'Lila' Sets The Stage For Marilynn Robinson's Earlier Works

Originally published on Mon October 20, 2014 6:03 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Book Reviews
6:48 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Martin Amis' 'Zone Of Interest' Is An Electrically Powerful Holocaust Novel

When I picked up Martin Amis' new novel, The Zone of Interest, it felt as though I had touched a third rail, so powerful and electric is the experience of reading it. After years of playing the snide card and giving his great store of talents to the business of giving other people the business, Amis has turned again to the matter of Nazi horrors (he tried to deal with it in a gimmicky way in his 1991 novel Time's Arrow), and the result is a book that may stand for years as the triumph of his career.

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Book Reviews
5:47 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Book Review: 'Angels Make Their Hope Here'

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 8:17 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDRED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. Now to 19th-century New Jersey and a new novel. It set among unusually tolerant people. A racially mixed community that offers refuge to independent souls. Alan Cheuse has this review of the novel "Angels Make Their Hope Here" by Breena Clarke.

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