Critical Mass

James Wolcott collects the best of his captivating essays from his earliest days at The Village Voice to his monthly column in Vanity Fair, still essential reading each month for its "Hand Grenades, and Hurrahs".

April 18: "[W]ould it be too bold to imagine that all warm-blooded animals have arisen from one living filament…?"

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…