Wednesday, July 30 2003
Affluence, academic competitiveness, early successes (getting it all right by your early 30s), neuroses, conspiracy theories, and crass materialism are some of the themes, metaphors, metonyms, and descants explored by young Singaporean playwright, Chong Tze Chien.
The book flap suggests a mystery: ''strange clues' in their home: books rearranged on their shelves, a mysterious phone call, and other suggestions that nothing about Lexy's last afternoon was quite what it seemed.'' It's a great hook. If only the story were what it seemed.
A rock 'n' roll drug addict love story that was banned by the government four months after it was first published but soon pirated versions appeared on the street and flourished.
In the end, Burger's argument hinges less on concrete examples of homosexuality in Chaucer's works, but rather, the notion of personalization in the writings, telling more about who a character is, and broader still, how a culture is defined.
Thursday, July 24 2003
Rob Spillman, review by Jonathan Messinger -- It's possible, ostensibly, to judge a magazine solely on its sex issue -- if for no other reason than it's the most fun for the reviewer.
The image of the 'hack,' the gruff, curmudgeonly, cigar-chomping, semi-alcoholic journalist of yesteryear who battered away mercilessly on his typewriter and rubbed everybody the wrong way (especially the societal elite who saw no profession as unworthy as journalism), has all but vanished.
Caren Gussoff's short stories map feminine experience of contemporary reality from the inside, and offer jolting rides through disturbed, damaged lives and minds. Her fictional worlds are fractured by emotional pain, criss-crossed by barely-healed scar tissue, gnarled and knotted by frustrated desires and thwarted ambitions.
Pearl of Perlis: Perlis State Park Guide by Editors: Kasim Osman, Rahimatsah Amat and Surin Suksuwan
The general impression given by this book (for better or worse) is a sense of nostalgia and a strong urge to visit the place before everything disappears into oblivion.
Author of six poetry collections, winner of the National Poetry Series, and professor of writing and literature at Webster University, Clewell celebrates this quirky adventure we call life, and does it with grace, style and aplomb.
The ascent of the vanished child to the level of national preoccupation is nothing new to film scholar Emma Wilson, who has been tracking the phenomenon in both Europe and the United States for years. Wilson, a professor at Corpus Christi College at Cambridge University, contends that images of missing children have become among the most predominant and haunting in western art, particularly in film.
Tuesday, July 8 2003
She reminds us that we do not live a soap opera, even if time to time, melodrama pervades. Dobie conveys her path of maturity with articulate, yet readable prose.
She is the most powerful person in the world's most advanced civilization, but while she is wily as a fox, she isn't necessarily wise as an owl. She crushes opposition in the zenana where she ruins lives and alienates her few supporters. They get their revenge.
Chronicling the electrifying 1980-90s hardcore scene (or harDCore, as it was called), Dance of Days tells the tale of the bands that fought or social change in the nation's capital while putting out some of the fierce albums ever heard.
The strength of her psychological thriller lies in her frugal, yet powerful, construction of sentences. They have a jaunty, almost nervous value, and she never gives too much away.
A survey of modern Welsh-language poetry that is variable in quality but consistently interesting in the political histories it maps out in potted biographies and in the introductory essay, which announces the book as 'the first definitive anthology of 20th century Welsh-language poetry in English translation'.
Wednesday, July 2 2003
See, in the end, Sylvia Plath did kill herself. Moses comes off as Plath's posthumous ally, augmenting Plath's feminist prowess to incredulous heights.
Through the lives of her characters and the conversations they have, she reinforces the strength and resiliency of the human spirit, and offers up a sober antidote to the pervasive shrillness of 'reality television'.
Where Cohen really excels is showing how social, economic and political forces came together in the Consumers' Republic. After the Second World War, converting back to the peacetime economy meant also reestablishing the dominance of the mostly white men coming home from service.
For a novel that reads like a satirical modern day soap opera veering on the edge of science fiction, The Crash of Hennington is in a genre of its own.
Thursday, June 26 2003
It is a perverse, almost masochistic mode of operation, but it is how American popular culture works. The more the stars stay away, the more we try to pull them closer.