Reviews > Books

9 Feb 2004 // 12:00 AM

Buying a Fishing Rod for My Grandfather by Gao Xingjian

Gao eschews both plot and poeticism -- leaving some to wonder what else there is -- and the resulting work is curiously opaque.

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3 Feb 2004 // 12:00 AM

The Wrestling Party by Bett Williams

Williams's book encourages a sense of the everyday and normal, enough so as to remove binary distinctions like us/them and queer/straight from the start.

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The Wisdom of Solitude: A Zen Retreat in the Woods by Jane Dobisz

Soon, however, I realized the two books are companions, both asking one question: What is suffering and how does religion or philosophy or a person's own reality shape his or her suffering?"

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3 Feb 2004 // 12:00 AM

The Man in My Basement by Walter Mosley

Mosley has created an unlikely and awkward pair, clumsily dancing around each other with the steps of a fool drunk on fleeting knowledge and even more fleeting power.

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3 Feb 2004 // 12:00 AM

The Floating Book by Michelle Lovric

It is in the historic tradition of the historical novel that Lovric includes assurances that we are not reading some bodice-ripping yarn with nothing more than costumes to distinguish it from fantastically tame pornography.

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Consuming the American Landscape by John Ganis

It's the split between mind and body at the center of Western civilization's ill-fated attempt under technocratic reason to rule over all things which Ganis's photographs seek to repair.

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The Sleeping Father by Matthew Sharpe

It's also a book that comes into this world with incredible weight on its shoulders. Not only does it have to fight off a kind of TV Movie of the Week stigma, there's the bad taste caused by previous novels tackling similar territory.

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28 Jan 2004 // 12:00 AM

The Return of the King Visual Companion by Jude Fisher

It's obvious that Fisher was torn between giving a straightforward account of the film's plot and wanting to stay true to the awe and poetry in Tolkien's own masterwork.

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28 Jan 2004 // 12:00 AM

The Movies of My Life by Alberto Fuguet

Movies, to a child, are almost always about seeing imagination played out on the big screen. Yet, there's little imagination in Fuguet's story structure.

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Death’s Showcase: The Power of Image in Contemporary Democracy by Ariella Azoulay

The notion of war as a literary construct, as well as a very real one, which can be coloured by surprise, tactic, rules, or none of the above, is presented, not only in words, but through extraordinary photographic images.

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The Book of Repulsive Women and Other Poems by Djuna Barnes

Barnes writes in a curiously anachronistic style, in which content jars against form, as if children's nursery rhymes were refilled with material purged by centuries of prurient censorship, and made vibrant, living things again.

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The Week You Weren’t Here by Charles Blackstone

Critics must be fair in their evaluation of a book and they must explain their disappointment or their joy. They should, from time to time, recommend that others give a book a try -- that their analysis is not the final word.

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21 Jan 2004 // 12:00 AM

Passwords by Jean Baudrillard

The concepts at the heart of Baudrillard's book invoke, reflect, subvert, and play with one another, sometimes compelling the careful reader to read the book backwards so that she or he might then begin reading forwards again.

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21 Jan 2004 // 12:00 AM

Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett

I told my uncle George in western Pennsylvania about the plot of Monstrous Regiment and he spouted off something about liberal pinko Commie crap and the superiority of men in all matters martial.

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Elizabeth David’s Christmas by Elizabeth David (Compiled by Jill Norman)

The further you get into Elizabeth David's Christmas, the stronger the impression that David's recipes should only be attempted by those with infinite time, infinite patience, and infinite resources.

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Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

Edith Grossman has delicately and lovingly translated the novel in a voice so fluid that had it been marketed to a broader audience, it would have, without a doubt, become a monster bestseller.

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21 Jan 2004 // 12:00 AM

Burn by Jennifer Natalya Fink

Fink manages the cultural uncertainty of the outsider and dissenter in the material deftly by presenting not only a Communist heroine but one that is Jewish as well in a time that prized greater homogeneity.

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12 Jan 2004 // 12:00 AM

Striptease: From Gaslight to Spotlight by Jessica Glasscock

With surprisingly little attention paid toward the concept of the 'male gaze,' Glasscock, instead, frames her retrospective around the impact that these women have had on culture, both selectively and in entirety.

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12 Jan 2004 // 12:00 AM

Paranoia by Joseph Finder

Reviewers should never reveal that critical plot pivot early in most suspense thrillers when the reader should stop and think about the protagonist's course of action. The 'give away point' you could call it.

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12 Jan 2004 // 12:00 AM

Mailman by J. Robert Lennon

Mailman's double life offers a penetrating critique of American social hypocrisy, embroiled in its own weird narrative, reluctant to respond to much outside of itself, and forced, eventually, to go on the run in search of escape from itself and the world it has made.

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In Motion: On the Emptiness of Progress

// Moving Pixels

"Nils Pihl calls it, "Newtonian engagement", that is, when "an engaged player will remain engaged until acted upon by an outside force". That's "progress".

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