Ariel Balter

Ariel Balter earned a BA in psychology from Bryn Mawr College and an MA and PhD in English from Tufts University. Over the past 15 years she has taught English and writing at various universities, colleges, and high schools, presented papers at academic conferences, and published several academic essays, including an article on Edith Wharton and one on James Weldon Johnson. Her memoir, The Maternity Labyrinth, published in August 2010, is her first work of creative nonfiction. Ms. Balter is currently working on a novel.

Books by Ariel Balter

Book Reviews by Ariel Balter

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The Burning Girl by Claire Messud relates the story of a close childhood friendship between Julia and Cassie that collapses by middle school as the girls grow apart and Cassie becomes trou

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“a thought-provoking, poignant, and memorable work.”

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Anything Is Possible by Elizabeth Strout is a beautifully and sensitively rendered companion piece to her last exquisite novel, Lucy Barton.

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“a highly engaging, charming read . . .”

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Zadie Smith has a tough act to follow: herself.

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Here I Am, Jonathan Safran Foer’s new novel, is both exhaustive and exhausting. There is no question that the author is brilliant and can write well.

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“Ausubel creates so many memorable, delightful, and poignant scenes that make her novel both entertaining and heartbreaking.”

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Jane Mendelsohn’s Burning Down the House is a soap opera of a novel that aspires to be a Greek tragedy, an epic, or a saga of the fall of a family empire . . .

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In her travel memoir In Other Words Jhumpa Lahiri explores how and why she, a highly acclaimed, prize winning fiction writer in English chose to leave the United States, move to Italy with

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“a gorgeous, playful artwork in and of itself about art, creating art, order, and randomness.”

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The new English translation of Patrick Modiano’s 2003 novel Paris Nocturne defies categorization.

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The Story of the Lost Child, Elena Ferrante’s fourth and alas, final Neapolitan Novel is a stunning conclusion to an utterly captivating, exceptional series about a lifelong friendship and

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“Extreme circumstances require radical change. If you want to survive at least,” one of the characters explains to the narrator of Vendela Vida’s novel The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty.

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“Toni Morrison’s gorgeously written, riveting, poignant novel is her finest work since Beloved. . . . a stunning work.”

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“Despite its artistic and literary weaknesses, The Boston Girl is interesting, informative, and a good read.”

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“All of the stories are unsettling and most conclude with a shock or, at the least, a disturbing revelation or observation. The 20 stories that comprise Mr.

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“The stories in The Book of Unknown Americans are engaging, readable, and poignant, but the quality of the writing is uneven.

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“Despite its flaws, Bark is an unsettling, poignant, cohesive and extremely well written collection of stories.”

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“Molly Antopol is an astute, insightful observer of human relationships . . . a remarkable collection of short stories. . . . In a word: Wow!”

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“. . . an exceptionally well-written, engaging, unified collection.”

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“. . . an exceptionally well-written novel. . . . Expect the unexpected.”

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“. . . engaging and nicely written but also heavily formulaic and one-dimensional.”

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“. . . an observant, deftly, and cleverly composed work.”

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“. . . outstanding on every level . . . heaven sent.”

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“The Kissing List beautifully captures the lives of twenty-something, smart, educated women. . . . haunting and thought-provoking.”

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“The Fun Parts is dude lit. For smart people.”

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Encyclopedia of a Life in Russia by Jose Manuel Prieto is organized alphabetically like a reference book.

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“Manu Joseph perfectly captures his characters in his precise, sharp prose.”

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“Sweet Tooth is wonderfully misleading, absolutely delectable, and very smart. And it is still a love story.”

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“Steve Stern masterfully creates different voices and narrators, employing colorful and descriptive language and humor.”

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“Incorporating many of the finest elements of spy thrillers and even romance novels, . . .”

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“Through his exquisite prose Mr. Cameron creates an engaging and thoughtful tale about damaged, complex people who want to connect.”

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“While The House at Tyneford clearly lacks the inventiveness, quality, and literary heft of Jane Eyre, it is unmistakably an homage to Bronte’s novel.”

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“Patti Smith adulates the imagination, especially childhood imagination, mysticism or spirituality, dreams, sensations, nature, the sublime and individualism.

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“Unlike a biography or autobiography, My Russian Grandmother does not really provide a full account of a person’s life—neither of his own nor of Grandma Tonia’s—but, yes, perhaps o

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“Through comedy, Ms. Cooke deftly illustrates how, as Bob Dylan wrote, ‘The times they are a changin’.’”

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In This Light, Melanie Rae Thon’s collection of beautifully written new and selected stories, is a gift from a very talented writer.

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Primarily a World War One story, but also a coming-of-age novel and a tale about fathers and sons and brothers, Andrew Krivak’s well-researched and well-told tale, The Sojourn, is a valuab

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Dan DeWeese’s well-crafted and engaging novel, You Don’t Love This Man, is unusual in that it is so well written but lacks real, thought-provoking substance.

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Everyman’s Library asserts that its purpose is to publish “distinguished classics” and “to make available literature that would appeal ‘to every kind of reader.’” In many ways, Everyman’s collectio

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First published in 1925, the Argentinian, Lascano Tegui’s novel, On Elegance While Sleeping, was just reprinted and deftly translated into English by Idra Novey, giving an English language

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". . . examines the intersection of the development of personal identity with cultural identity and even political identity."

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Chang-Rae Lee’s novel, The Surrendered, is an ambitious work that explores, through the intersecting lives of three main characters, the effects of war and intense traumatic experiences.

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Contrary to expectations, Tolstoy’s well-known line from Anna Karenina, “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way,” does not apply to Rachel Cusk’s nove

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Joyce Hinnefeld’s outstanding novel, Stranger Here Below, centers around the lives of two young women, Maze, a white girl from Appalachia and her black roommate at Berea College, Mary Eliz

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Martyrdom Street, by Firoozeh Kashani-Sabet, is an interesting and informative book about life in Iran and America during the Revolution and after the Iran-Iraq War from about 1979 to 1993

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I must begin by declaring a huge appreciation of Lorrie Moore’s writing, impatiently waiting for her to produce another book since the publication of Birds of America in 1998.