Curator Reviews

Alison Bechdel

I reread this book every once in a while, and every time I do I find it more capacious and startling. It’s so revolutionary and so exquisitely wrought that it keeps evolving on its own somehow, as if it’s alive.

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Michael Cunningham

It’d be good to be reminded, as I pass my days sitting on a beach under a coconut tree, of all the life, all the beauty and sorrow, all the mystery; all that can be contained within a relatively modest number of pages. It’d be good to be continually reminded, as I grew older, about how much rampant life, how much emotion and conflict and joy and disappointment, can be conveyed in a novel so perfectly, symmetrically structured.

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Maggie Nelson

As far as the modernists go, this is neck and neck with Beckett for number ten (that’s cheating, I know), but Woolf must win. Like Baldwin, Woolf has made many a top 10 list, but again, there’s a reason: I know of no more gut-wrenching, soaring prose about shared consciousness, mortality and water. Truly a book for the cradle to the grave.

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Greta Gerwig

A classic for a reason. My mind was warped into a new shape by her prose and it will never be the same again. The metaphysics she presents in the book are enacted in a way that allowed me to begin to understand that corner of philosophy.

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Meg Wolitzer

This novel is just astonishing in its depth and reach and beauty. There is really nothing else like it, and no matter how many times I read it I find myself shocked at what Woolf was able to do.

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Richard E. Grant

Groundbreaking, haunting and elliptical.

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Siri Hustvedt

My admiration for this book is complete. It is as beautiful, poignant, and ruthless as anything I have ever read. 

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Meghan Udell

The novel is set in three parts in the Ramsays' summer home, on the Isle of Skye. On the surface, Mrs. Ramsay — the devoted mother and matriarch of the family, and Lily Briscoe — a female artist committed to personal autonomy, stand in stark contrast of each other. Mrs Ramsay appears to have it all, but underneath, the responsibilities of being an ideal woman — a wife and mother — is slowly killing her. Throughout the first part of the book, Mrs. Ramsay is almost never without her knitting, a fact that becomes even more prominent in her absence, when the remaining characters return to the summer house after Mrs Ramsay’s death.

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