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Not just another Beauty and the Beast
By Ann Taylor (Aug 8, 2008)
Anyone who has ever watched the cartoon "Gargoyles" remembers the impossible love that blossomed between Goliath, the leader of the gargoyles, and Elisa, the savvy New York City cop. He was an enormous, frightening creature who turned to stone during the day, while she was an ordinary (but beautiful and talented) human. Their love remained, sadly, unconsummated. Just as in the cartoon, Andrew Davidson’s novel, The Gargoyle, also tells the story of a man who, despite his frightening appearance, has an unconsummated love affair with a beautiful woman. He, like the stone gargoyles that she carves, is carved away in order to become whole. More
A Good Cause for a Smile
By lisa ryers (Aug 1, 2008)
Mary Roach writes in Bonk ‘s introduction that her study of sexual physiology should not come as a shock to readers familiar with her other books, Stiff (the world of cadavers and undertakers) and Spook (the milieu of the supernatural). Perhaps the most understanding person in Roach’s life is her husband who apparently didn’t mind using vacation time to go to London in order to subject himself to a coital imaging machine for a book that his wife would later title subtitle: The Curious Coupling of Science and SexMore
Pace is the Trick
By lisa ryers (Jun 6, 2008)
In the 1980s, if you took the train to work in Chicago, you might have seen Scott Turow scribbling what later became known as Presumed Innocent. Critics praised the rapid but even pacing of the novel which might have been affected by his commute. Judgment Day, by Bay Area corporate attorney Sheldon Siegel, is the sixth in a series of crime novels involving ex-husband and wife team attorney Mike Daley and Rosie Fernandez. More
I Go Searching For Music
By jesse nathan (May 30, 2008)
Katie Ford and I crossed paths for the first time on a sultry day in Iowa City. I was quickly enthralled by her keen sense for what makes good poetry, her urgent probing of every line of verse she encountered, her willingness to push further into the heart of things, to carry conversation about the art to fresh and exhilarating levels. Ford’s own poems are durable and elliptical and lovely. Her work, like the work of so many poets of this generation, eschews easy categorization into school or style pigeonholes. It is neither inaccessible nor easy -- and thank goodness on both counts. More
Minnesota Malaise Meets New York Neurosis
By lisa ryers (May 9, 2008)
The ellipsis, in grammatical terms, is what English teachers would call an “unsaid thought.” For therapists, the ellipsis is their bread and butter. Once the patient fills in the ellipsis, the job is theoretically done. The Sorrows of an American by Siri Hustvedt creates a panorama of characters that suffer from ellipsis override. More
Joe likes Nancy
By jesse nathan (Apr 25, 2008)
For Joe Brainard love hit like a freight train the first time he spied Nancy: “The first time I saw Nancy she was eating a chicken salad sandwich at Joe’s, just around the corner from my father’s hardware store. I didn’t know what to do, she was just so beautiful. So I just stood there, looking. Bright red lips. White oval face. (Soft) big black eyes.” To be clear, Brainard’s talking here about the cartoon character Nancy and the year is 1963. More
Do You Know Where Your Kids Are?
By lisa ryers (Apr 11, 2008)
Were bookstores more like record shops with their endless streams of subcategories (metal, thrash, emo-metal, hair metal), then within the field of “fiction” and “literary fiction” you would find plastic dividers for “southern gothic novel” populated by modern day Faulkners such as Christopher Rice and then we would have “chicklit southern gothic (without vampires)” and there we would find Joshilyn Jackson’s work. Her third novel is entitled The Girl Who Stopped SwimmingMore
Verbatim Theater
By jesse nathan (Feb 8, 2008)
James Baldwin believed fervently in the salvific power of literature -- and in the power of a writer to affect change. “I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.” There were limitations to that power, he believed, but had no other course than to address whatever corrupted principalities permeated the day. More
Falling In and Out, Together
By Aimee Le Duc (Feb 1, 2008)
Often times, young characters in novels are given one of two voices: the voice of a smart-mouthed comedian or the voice of a wise, pure and enlightened young adult. Either way, these characters usually serve to discredit or make a fool of bad acting grown-ups. Yannick Murphy’s characters in Here They Come thankfully do not fall in either of these traps. This is a tight, fast-moving story, almost wholly devoid of judgmental narration or overtly sensitive treatment of the behavior of children. More
The Uses of Enchantment
By jesse nathan (Jan 18, 2008)
It’s late fall in the Boston suburb of West Salem. There’s snow and cloud cover and so it’s hard to say what time of day it is exactly. Two teams of girls playing field hockey shiver on their respective sidelines, waiting for school officials, as they inevitably will, to call the game and let them go home. Just before that happens, though, one of the girls slips off, allegedly to go to the bathroom. Instead she makes her way to the parking lot, where she taps her hockey stick on the glass window of a car idling there. More
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