Wednesday, October 22 2003
John Gist's second novel isn't concerned with forensics and sleuthing; it simply surveys the ever-increasing carnage that Gist implies is symptomatic of our world gone wrong.
The real states here, though, are states of mind, and in particular those freaked-out mental states that characterise the tradition of drug-trade books and films from Burroughs to Welsh.
Thursday, October 16 2003
Imagine a small group of cloistered nuns, right in the middle of Cleveland, who pray for the City, all day, all night. This is their calling. In 2003. Gives you chills, doesn't it? The Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration, cloistered in a monastery, they're praying for you.
The work is also a reminder of how the taking of one's own life can be representative of more than just depression, that rather, it can become, for better or worse, a deliberate act of independence.
The novel appears to fear we might miss the message: You don't need chemicals to have a good time. In that way, despite Robinson's deftness of touch and sharpness of wit, the novel sometimes resembles M.A.D.D. filmstrip day or a Very Special edition of Maxim.
Mercurio's main objective is to blow a big, fat hole in the E.R.-inspired non-reality that hospitals are dens of comfort and that all doctors are hunky heroes.
Thursday, October 9 2003
While providing tremendous insight into the history of science and the study of the world at large, Bryson's most interesting observations lie in his fascinating description of said scientists and their peculiarities and obsessions.
Growing up, Elise soon realizes, is as much about the turning of the clock as it is about circumstance. Dead mother or not, 15 is still 15.
Pulp's classic 'femme fatale' is Clytemnestra in Chanel no. 5, all temptation, castration and, in her inevitable defeat, the eventual restoration of masculine order.
What's transpiring is equal parts incisive satire and artistic shell game from an audacious writer whose weakness is his emotional detachment from his characters and situations. Getting involved would not violate the rules of satire, although it might fly in the face of postmodern 'cool.'"
The book might serve certain mainstream minds in opening them up to the legitimate vitality of this underground scene, and it might help to de-demonize some 'extreme' music.
Thursday, September 25 2003
He writes in the long tradition of the English eccentric, weirdly both inhabiting and residing somewhere outside of normal reality.
Set in the future, anthropology professor Hank Hannah recounts the happenings and peculiarities of modern Homo sapien life.
The perfect combination of cocky superhero and romantic leading man, Swytek is a guy who's seen it all and lived to tell the tale.
Set in 'Rattlesnake' Canyon, New Mexico -- where the friends stop to camp for a night -- and stocked with colorful local characters, Journal of the Dead is steeped in elements of pulp fiction.
Wednesday, September 17 2003
Uncovers a long-repressed chapter of social history significant enough to command reappraisal of the legacy of eugenics for today and for the future.
We're simply rooting for the underdog to get back on his feet, to earn a paycheck, to settle into a routine.
More successfully executed are Jonah's prophetic night dreams. Sullivan wisely withholds the specifics about this activity, which lends it a mystery the ghosts themselves lack.
Reminds us that baseball a century ago was actually much like baseball now, with a few notable exceptions. Chief among them: 100 years ago, teams from Boston actually played in the postseason.
Thursday, September 11 2003
Todd McEwen's new novel positively pulsates with vigorous life, which is odd, as superficially it's a novel about dealing with the knowledge of death.