After Donald Trump’s human smokescreen Kellyanne Conway famously announced that the president was simply presenting the world with “alternative facts”, the connection was quickly made to George Orwell’s 1984. There’s good reason for this. (And while one should be happy for any resulting increase in sales of the book, we shouldn’t presume that it will be any guide to the remaining years of the Trump presidency. More on that below.)
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In Jordanna Max Brodsky’s at once familiar and promethean world of The Immortals, everyday life as we know it becomes the revisionist undertaking of a writer using Greek mythology as a sculptural tool. Brodsky’s novel is an urban fantasy, a genre that has developed a large following in the last ten years or so, but it’s also an inverse reading on gender politics—one that often finds cynicism on either end of the feminist literary debate. Brodsky’s primary tool for exploratory human drama is Artemis, embodied by the protagonist Selene DiSilva, who endeavours to protect women in need by means of stealth and aggression.
Back when publishers still released books about Iraq, Thomas Ricks wrote a pair of them that were forward-thinking for the time but now look powerfully prescient. Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2003 to 2005 (2006) was a damning an indictment of the Bush / Cheney / Rumsfeld crew’s excited rush to war and then seeming boredom with the details of actually managing it. It wasn’t the first book to lay out that case, but given the depth of Ricks’s reporting and his lack of ideological cant (which hampered a number of other books on the Iraq fisaco), it was one of the most definitive and difficult to dispute.
It was Fiasco’s less-celebrated 2009 companion volume, however, that truly stands out today.
Excepting perhaps only Fats Domino, the Clash’s Joe Strummer had the greatest name in the history of rock and roll. Of course, it wasn’t actually his name. Nobody has a moniker that perfectly suited to their profession, especially in the business called show. After all, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame isn’t filled with people named John Smith or Ruth Adams.
In a spare white lobby-like space just off Temple Bar, the walls are decorated with highly personable photographic portraits of distinctive faces. A facepainted woman with a wry smile, the tough-looking trio of girls leaning up against a brick wall, the farmer with his tractor, the bearded drunk with lidded eyes, the young drunks with wide-open eyes.