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, two collections of short fiction, 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. With Caroline Marshall, he has edited two volumes of short stories.

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 most recent collection of his short fiction was published in September 1998, and his essay collection, Listening to the Page, appeared in 2001.

Cheuse teaches writing at George Mason University in Washington, DC, and spends his summers teaching writing at the Squaw Valley Community of Writers in Santa Cruz, Calif. Cheuse earned his Ph.D. in comparative literature with a focus on Latin American literature from Rutgers University.

Book Reviews
4:27 pm
Wed December 25, 2013

Written In Secret Behind The Iron Curtain, 'Corpse' Is Revived

Originally published on Wed December 25, 2013 7:28 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The fiction work of Soviet era writer Zigizmund Krzhizhanovsky never saw the light of day in his own time. He was known mostly as a theater, music and literally critic, but he also wrote fables and fiction for more than 20 years, none of which appeared in print until 1989. Well, a new volume of that work called "Autobiography of a Corpse" has just come out here in the U.S. It's translated from the Russian by Joanne Turnbull, and Alan Cheuse has our review.

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NPR Story
3:23 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

'Nasty Piece Of Work' Makes Spy-Turned-PI Work Well

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 5:54 pm

Alan Cheuse reviews Robert Littell's newest novel of a CIA agent turned private investigator, A Nasty Piece of Work.

Book Reviews
3:41 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

A Coming Of Age Story For The (Ice) Ages

Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 4:37 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. A new novel explores life on Earth tens of thousands of years ago. It's called "Shaman" by science fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson. Our reviewer, Alan Cheuse, says it's worthy of a spot on the bookshelf between "The Inheritors" and "The Clan Of The Cave Bear."

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Book Reviews
7:00 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

Book Review: 'Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish'

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

The writer and humorist David Rakoff died last year at the age of 47 of cancer. He left behind his final work: a brief novel in verse with the long title "Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish." It was published today, and Alan Cheuse has this review.

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NPR Story
3:15 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

Book Review: 'Skinner'

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 11:36 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

Charlie Huston is a Los Angeles-based writer known for his superhero comic books and crime novels. Alan Cheuse couldn't wait to get his hands on Huston's latest thriller called "Skinner." Here's his review.

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Book Reviews
4:23 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

Book Review: 'A Nearly Perfect Copy'

Originally published on Fri May 10, 2013 6:23 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Allison Amend is out with her third book. It's a novel called "A Nearly Perfect Copy." It features richly detailed characters, including an art dealer gone bad, and it's set in both Paris and New York. Our review Alan Cheuse found it all quite delectable.

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Book Reviews
4:39 pm
Fri March 15, 2013

Book Review: 'Where Tigers Are At Home'

Originally published on Wed March 20, 2013 12:05 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish. Our book reviewer, Alan Cheuse, has just traveled to Brazil and back in an 800-page novel. The book is called "Where Tigers Are At Home." It's by a French novelist named Jean-Marie Blas de Robles and it's just out in English. Here's Alan's review.

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Book Reviews
12:20 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

Under Ogawa's Macabre, Metafictional Spell

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 6:23 pm

It used to be a truism among critics of British poetry that Keats and most of his fellow Romantic poets worked in the shadow of John Milton. I'm not making a perfect analogy when I suggest that most contemporary Japanese writers seem to be working under the shadow of Haruki Murakami, but I hope it highlights the spirit of the situation.

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Best Books Of 2012
1:48 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

A Wintry Mix: Alan Cheuse Selects The Season's Best

Nishant Choksi

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 10:50 pm

It's that time of year again — the leaves have fallen, the dark comes early, the air brings with it a certain chill — and I've been piling up books on my reading table, books I've culled from the offerings of the past few months, which because of their essential lyric beauty and power stand as special gifts for you and yours.

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Book Reviews
3:40 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

Book Review: 'Dear Life'

Originally published on Mon November 19, 2012 4:52 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel with good news for short story fans.

Canadian writer and master of the short story Alice Munro has published a new collection. It's called "Dear Life." And our reviewer Alan Cheuse says it's a must read.

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Book Reviews
3:06 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

A Midcentury Romance, With 'Sunlight' And 'Shadow'

John Craven Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 4:54 pm

New York, New York, it's a wonderful town! And Mark Helprin's new near-epic novel makes it all the more marvelous. It's got great polarized motifs — war and peace, heroism and cowardice, crime and civility, pleasure and business, love and hate, bias and acceptance — which the gifted novelist weaves into a grand, old-fashioned romance, a New York love story that begins with a Hollywoodish meet-cute on the Staten Island Ferry.

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Book Reviews
4:36 pm
Tue September 11, 2012

Book Review: 'God Carlos'

Originally published on Tue September 11, 2012 8:57 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. Now to the 16th Century and the Spanish port of Cadiz. It's the setting for "God Carlos," a new novel by Jamaican-born writer Anthony Winkler, who takes us on a voyage to the New World. Alan Cheuse has this review.

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Critics' Lists: Summer 2012
7:23 am
Thu June 14, 2012

Sail Into Summer With Novel Picks From Alan Cheuse

Harriet Russell

Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 5:23 pm

Head to the bookstore or pick up your Nook or Kindle or iPad, and prepare, if you will, to make some decisions about your summer reading life. My suggestions this year tend to be fine new fiction, the kind that not only flows on the page but also makes a sort of music in your mind. So, word music it is! Strike up the orchestra! It's going to be a big summer for big broad American literary voices, voices that leap from the page and linger with you, echo through your summer and perhaps even beyond.

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Book Reviews
2:00 pm
Thu March 29, 2012

Review: 'Running The Rift'

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

Athletes all over the world are training for the summer Olympics in London. We'll hear some of their personal stories as the games get closer. But now, a fictional story about a man who wants to reach the Olympics. "Running the Rift" is about an African athlete's struggles with his country's ethnic divisions.

Here's our reviewer, Alan Cheuse.

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Book Reviews
2:00 pm
Mon February 20, 2012

Book Review: 'The Darlings'

Bernie Madoff's investment scandal inspired financial analyst Christina Alger to write a novel based on the personal and financial turmoil created by the collapse. It's called The Darlings, and Alan Cheuse — writing professor at George Mason University — has a review.

Book Reviews
2:00 pm
Thu November 10, 2011

'Mrs. Nixon,' An Unexpected Gift

Alan Cheuse reviews a new book from Ann Beattie. Mrs. Nixon tells the story of an author as she tackles the challenge of writing a biography of former first lady Pat Nixon. Cheuse teaches writing at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.

Book Reviews
2:00 pm
Mon October 17, 2011

Book Review: '1Q84'

Originally published on Tue October 18, 2011 11:05 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

If you loved the novel "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," if you loved following the main character, Lisbeth Salander, on her adventures, then our book reviewer, Alan Cheuse, has good news for you. Lisbeth Salander has a sort of soul sister. She's one of the two central characters in a new novel by a different author. It's by Haruki Murakami, and the book is called "1Q84."

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