Mike Shea

Articles by Mike Shea

The Color of Lightning

Mar 31, 2009 By Mike Shea

Stick a thumb into any page of Paulette Jiles’s The Color of Lightning and you’ll pull out a fine prose plum. The San Antonio author has trademarked an offhand lyricism, and she displays it amply in this intelligent Civil War–era novel: “Britt and Mary slept with the two…

The Caryatids

Mar 1, 2009 By Mike Shea

The future has seldom been a copacetic place in sci-fi swami Bruce Sterling’s works of fiction. His eleventh novel, The Caryatids, is set in the bleak year 2065. A global nuclear and climatological disaster has devastated great nation-states like India and America; China has emerged as the ravaged…

Tracy Daugherty

Mar 1, 2009 By Mike Shea

In the sixties and seventies, transplanted Houstonian Donald Barthelme made a splash in the New York literary world with short stories and novels like Snow White and The Dead Father. With Hiding Man, one of his former students—now a distinguished professor of English and creative writing at…

It Will Come to Me

Mar 1, 2009 By Mike Shea

We probably didn’t need another comic novel about life at an absurdly bureaucratic and insular American university, but Houston memoirist Emily Fox Gordon gets a pass for her well-honed and earthy satire It Will Come to Me. Ruth Blau is a 56-year-old faculty wife; her husband, Ben, chairs…

Pratap Chatterjee

Feb 1, 2009 By Mike Shea

An extended interview with the author of Halliburton’s Army: How a Well-Connected Texas Oil Company Revolutionized the Way America Makes War.

Pratap Chatterjee

Feb 1, 2009 By Mike Shea

In light of the American military’s increasing dependence on corporate entities, Halliburton’s Army: How a Well-Connected Texas Oil Company Revolutionized the Way America Makes War questions our government’s ability to oversee massively profitable armed forces contracts. The author, who lives in Oakland, California, is the managing editor of the investigative…

Sum: Forty Tales From the Afterlives

Feb 1, 2009 By Mike Shea

In the twenty-first century, when the American consumer can choose from among hundreds of flat-screen TVs, David Eagleman’s pocket-size work of philosofiction, Sum: Forty Tales From the Afterlives, is nothing if not culturally consistent: With both a childlike sense of wonder and a trenchant flair for irony, the…

Cutting for Stone

Feb 1, 2009 By Mike Shea

In a sense, Marion Stone, the narrator of Abraham Verghese’s sparkling first novel, Cutting for Stone, is a dramatically enhanced doppelgänger of his creator. Like Verghese, he is born in Ethiopia to Indian parents, becomes a physician, and relocates to America (Verghese moved in the eighties to Tennessee,…

Robb Walsh

Jan 1, 2009 By Mike Shea

Sex, Death & Oysters: A Half-Shell Lover’s World Tour captures the Houston food writer at his best, offering culinary insight, scientific fact, and offbeat humor as he travels the globe in search of the truth about oysters (including their alleged resemblance to the female anatomy and occasional fatal effects). His…