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Ethan Canin

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November 24, 2002 | Elaine Dutka
Ethan Canin is a physician-turned-writer whose award-winning fiction focuses on the personal: characters forced to confront themselves as they make moral choices under duress. That theme is strong in "The Emperor's Club," a new movie based on the title novella in his story collection "The Palace Thief," in which a classics professor tangles with an unscrupulous, overprivileged student. You wrote "The Palace Thief" eight years ago, but the ethical questions -- issues of lying, cheating, backbiting -- seem particularly apt today.
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BOOKS
June 22, 2008 | Heller McAlpin, Heller McAlpin reviews books for a variety of publications, including Newsday and the Boston Globe.
It's REFRESHING -- and almost quaint -- to see someone try to write a Great American Novel in the 21st century. These days, writers are more apt to pursue the Great American Screenplay or the Not-So-Great American Ironic, Postmodern Fiction. But Ethan Canin's sixth book, with its flag-waving title, "America America," is a big, ambitious, old-fashioned, quintessentially American novel about politics, power, ambition, class, ethics and loyalty.
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NEWS
May 22, 2001 | MICHAEL HARRIS, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
Whenever a talented new writer arrives, reviewers tend to overlook, or at least pardon, the weaknesses or limitations of his first few books. Talent is rare and worth celebrating. At some point, however, a reassessment is due; and when it comes, it often seems, to the writer and to readers both, unduly harsh, because the work being criticized is no worse than what was previously praised. Has that time come for Ethan Canin?
ENTERTAINMENT
November 24, 2002 | Elaine Dutka
Ethan Canin is a physician-turned-writer whose award-winning fiction focuses on the personal: characters forced to confront themselves as they make moral choices under duress. That theme is strong in "The Emperor's Club," a new movie based on the title novella in his story collection "The Palace Thief," in which a classics professor tangles with an unscrupulous, overprivileged student. You wrote "The Palace Thief" eight years ago, but the ethical questions -- issues of lying, cheating, backbiting -- seem particularly apt today.
NEWS
February 21, 1994 | MICHAEL HARRIS, TIMES STAFF WRITER
This collection of four long stories, or short novellas, brings to mind D.H. Lawrence's division of American writers into the genteel and the wild. Ethan Canin ("Emperor of the Air," "Blue River") is genteel. The pleasures of reading him--and they are considerable--are the pleasures of restraint, not of excess. Canin writes quietly, if tellingly, about ordinary people.
NEWS
February 3, 1988 | RICHARD EDER, Times Book Critic
Emperor of the Air by Ethan Canin (Houghton Mifflin: $15.95; 179 pages) "Emperor of the Air," Ethan Canin's first collection of short stories, is a series of shots that find their target with devastating accuracy and frequent grace. It is target-shooting, to be sure, with pauses to reposition and set up. It is not quite the same as pursuing a live and recalcitrant quarry through swampland, and having to take the shots that the chase allows.
NEWS
April 19, 1988 | ELIZABETH MEHREN, Times Staff Writer
Think of the worst-case scenario, Ethan Canin's editor at Houghton Mifflin advised him shortly before his first book, "Emperor of the Air," came out this spring. That was easy. What if nobody read it? What if the 27-year-old author's literary debut came and went unnoticed? As for the best-case scenario, editor Signey Warner Watson urged the fourth-year Harvard medical student not to think about anything as far-fetched as the best-seller list. "It's common knowledge in the industry," Watson said.
BOOKS
June 22, 2008 | Heller McAlpin, Heller McAlpin reviews books for a variety of publications, including Newsday and the Boston Globe.
It's REFRESHING -- and almost quaint -- to see someone try to write a Great American Novel in the 21st century. These days, writers are more apt to pursue the Great American Screenplay or the Not-So-Great American Ironic, Postmodern Fiction. But Ethan Canin's sixth book, with its flag-waving title, "America America," is a big, ambitious, old-fashioned, quintessentially American novel about politics, power, ambition, class, ethics and loyalty.
BOOKS
November 3, 1991 | Michael Cunningham, Cunningham is the author of "A Home at the End of the World" (Farrar, Straus & Giroux).
"Blue River," Ethan Canin's first novel, is a spare, lyric tale of betrayal. It follows his 1988 short-story collection, "Emperor of the Air," which received critical accolades and racked up hefty sales, a rare trick for a book of elegiac and utterly unsensational stories written by a young unknown.
NEWS
May 22, 2001 | MICHAEL HARRIS, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
Whenever a talented new writer arrives, reviewers tend to overlook, or at least pardon, the weaknesses or limitations of his first few books. Talent is rare and worth celebrating. At some point, however, a reassessment is due; and when it comes, it often seems, to the writer and to readers both, unduly harsh, because the work being criticized is no worse than what was previously praised. Has that time come for Ethan Canin?
NEWS
November 18, 1998 | MICHAEL J. YBARRA, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
" 'How does your life turn out?' That's the ultimate novelistic question to me," says Ethan Canin. "What's more interesting than the arc of lives?" Consider his own. Not long ago, the 38-year-old writer finished what seemed an endless project, the remodeling of his house, a turn-of-the-century Edwardian in the Richmond District here. For much of the last decade he slaved over it, plugging up fireplaces ("who needs five fireplaces?") and nailing hardwood floors into place.
NEWS
February 21, 1994 | MICHAEL HARRIS, TIMES STAFF WRITER
This collection of four long stories, or short novellas, brings to mind D.H. Lawrence's division of American writers into the genteel and the wild. Ethan Canin ("Emperor of the Air," "Blue River") is genteel. The pleasures of reading him--and they are considerable--are the pleasures of restraint, not of excess. Canin writes quietly, if tellingly, about ordinary people.
BOOKS
November 3, 1991 | Michael Cunningham, Cunningham is the author of "A Home at the End of the World" (Farrar, Straus & Giroux).
"Blue River," Ethan Canin's first novel, is a spare, lyric tale of betrayal. It follows his 1988 short-story collection, "Emperor of the Air," which received critical accolades and racked up hefty sales, a rare trick for a book of elegiac and utterly unsensational stories written by a young unknown.
NEWS
April 19, 1988 | ELIZABETH MEHREN, Times Staff Writer
Think of the worst-case scenario, Ethan Canin's editor at Houghton Mifflin advised him shortly before his first book, "Emperor of the Air," came out this spring. That was easy. What if nobody read it? What if the 27-year-old author's literary debut came and went unnoticed? As for the best-case scenario, editor Signey Warner Watson urged the fourth-year Harvard medical student not to think about anything as far-fetched as the best-seller list. "It's common knowledge in the industry," Watson said.
NEWS
November 18, 1998 | MICHAEL J. YBARRA, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
" 'How does your life turn out?' That's the ultimate novelistic question to me," says Ethan Canin. "What's more interesting than the arc of lives?" Consider his own. Not long ago, the 38-year-old writer finished what seemed an endless project, the remodeling of his house, a turn-of-the-century Edwardian in the Richmond District here. For much of the last decade he slaved over it, plugging up fireplaces ("who needs five fireplaces?") and nailing hardwood floors into place.
MAGAZINE
August 19, 1990
I think it's a good thing Ethan Canin left medical school to be a story writer. Judging from "The Scientific Method" (yawn, ho-hum), he might have become dangerous and been a doctor. Thanks for the Sandra Cisneros piece, "Woman Hollering Creek"; that was sensational. E. FLOYD SHERMAN Encino
NEWS
February 3, 1988 | RICHARD EDER, Times Book Critic
Emperor of the Air by Ethan Canin (Houghton Mifflin: $15.95; 179 pages) "Emperor of the Air," Ethan Canin's first collection of short stories, is a series of shots that find their target with devastating accuracy and frequent grace. It is target-shooting, to be sure, with pauses to reposition and set up. It is not quite the same as pursuing a live and recalcitrant quarry through swampland, and having to take the shots that the chase allows.
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