Tuesday, May 4 2004
With the recent brouhaha over the latest actions taken to legalize gay marriage and the conservative Right's counteractions to ban such unions, it's surprising to learn that there were advocates of gay marriage within the church over a hundred years ago.
But somewhere through the decades, teenagers stubbed out their cigarettes and traded fast cars for Kalashnikovs.
Nature-centered writing has degenerated into stories about rare animals or exotic places, a niche market of upscale Baby Boomers. It is written by folks who've sworn off deodorant or humor or both.
For all those writers who got rather stinky reviews from James Wood, I'm sorry to say that you should stop holding your breath and hoping for the worst, because Wood's first novel, The Book Against God, is finely crafted.
As the book reveals itself to a sad portrait of a disintegrating family, the real story becomes as muddled for the reader as it seems to be for Raeburn himself.
Tuesday, April 27 2004
Spencer's novel has been billed as a love story, and while that is the heart of the plot, his character development is so complex as to outstretch the trappings of one singular romance.
Just like Oprah has her vested interests in promoting a certain style of literature, the CBC Radio panel appears to have picked an overlooked book with which everyone would find some familiarity.
Henry Kissinger once said that the best thing about celebrity is that when you bore people, they think it's their fault. But what happens if celebrities bore each other?"
Any redeeming corruption, sleaze and seduction of California in Thornburg's hands fails to sustain any kind of punch.
Tuesday, April 20 2004
The key themes of history as closure, a kind of irreversible process sealed by death into a possibility of resurrection, are never far away in Nagy's poetry.
So, which is it? The good wife afraid to undress in the light, or unabashed dominatrix ready to school the world on the ways of the woman?"
Griest stumbled into cultures that were significantly more complex than the Amnesty International literature might lead one to believe.
I would like nothing more than to believe that the criticism of the book stems from politics and not from any failing on Bellesiles' part. But the evidence against him is fairly damning.
Tuesday, April 13 2004
One of the weaknesses of this otherwise very readable history is Shapiro's decision not to look at the metaphorical function of illegal drugs in movies. He is altogether too literal.
The novel purports to be as felicitous and random as everyday life, but in truth it is precisely plotted and predetermined beyond all spontaneity.
It's as if the worst aspects of advanced capitalism have come true. Orgasm equals validation, promiscuity determines popularity, fashion determines social hierarchy, and savvy manipulation of others is the highest pursuit of all.
The novel offers a darker view of religion, highlighting the dangers of an all-powerful church that binds its adherents to their suffering rather than offering them genuine solutions.
Tuesday, April 6 2004
There is something in the less logical, more associative poems that is appropriate, and has the most enduring, mystic resonance.
Hungarian film has, until now, remained a 'specialist' subject, due variously to Hungary's political situation, a reluctance of the 'West' to translate and promote these films, and the notorious difficulty of the Hungarian language.
Even before you're done reading that subtitle, about 'writers running wild,' the theme is already being stretched to fill out the book.