"American Dream Machine has a feline watchfulness and a poetic sensibility that echoes Bellow's and Updike's prose rhythms along with their voracious, exuberant intelligence." New York Times Book Review, Editor's Choice
"Joan Didion prophesied this novel. In an essay called "Los Angeles Days," published in 1992 in AFTER HENRY, she wrote that "Californians until recently spoke of the United States beyond Colorado as "back east". If they went to New York, they went "back"to New York, a way of speaking that carried with it the suggestion of living on a distant frontier. Californians of my daughter's generation speak of going "Out" to New York, a meaningful shift in the perception of one's place in the world." Specktor's American Dream Machine may be first the literature I've read in which Los Angeles is assumed as London is assumed by Dickens and Paris by Proust and New York by a host of twentieth century American writers. There is nothing ironic, ambivalent, or apologetic about Specktor's relationship to Los Angeles as it is and was, as myth and as a thriving capitol city. Los Angeles provides an animate pulse under the lives of these men and boys, a source of permanence that lends their struggles gravity and monument." —Mona Simpson


“Matthew Specktor’s That Summertime Sound isn’t so much a book as it is a door, hinged in memory, and swinging wide to every tenderhearted throb of lust and longing and precocious regret still there where you left it, at the periphery of adulthood. How does the novel perform this trick? By prose as lucid and classical as Graham Greene’s in The End of the Affair, yet saturated in detail such that if you’d never had the luck to outgrow an 80s’ teenage dream in Columbus, Ohio, you’ll feel you had after reading it.” —Jonathan Lethem


Matthew Specktor’s passionate, lyric meditation turns The Sting on its head, on its side, and right-side-up in an effort to unpack the film’s giddy complexity and secret, melancholic heart. Working off interviews with screenwriter David S. Ward and producer Tony Bill, and tacking from nuanced interpretation of its arching moods and themes to gimlet-eyed observation of its dizzying sleights-of-hand, Specktor opens The Sting up to disclose the subtle and stunning dimensions—sexual, political, and aesthetic—of Hill’s best film. Through Specktor’s lens, The Sting reveals itself as both an enduring human drama and a meditation on art-making itself, an ode to the necessary pleasure of being fooled at the movies.