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Difficult Loves: First Novel Heavy on Sorrow and Scandal
By Scott Esposito (Jan 20, 2005)
The focus of 'The Last Song of Dusk', Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi's accomplished but uneven first novel, is love. Set in turn-of-the-century India, the book makes a very pragmatic and very severe appraisal of a force that can bring meaning to life yet also great pain. It ponders how love is produced, what it is for, and what is to be done when it alone is not enough. And most important of all it asks: is the best that love can bring worth the worst it will inflict? More
By Scott Esposito (Dec 31, 2004)
1. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
At a time when every new book is billed as profound, earth-shattering, magical, and uproarious, Infinite Jest actually is. It's the rare book that actually lives up to its extraordinarily hyperbolic marketing hype. More
By Mario Bruzzone (Dec 31, 2004)
1. Women in their Beds by Gina Berriault (1997; SF author)
Berriault is (or, sadly, was) California's version of Alice Munro a superbly gifted short-story writer whose work haunts you with infinitely perfect moments: the bewilderment of a child who has killed his brother and can't understand what it means; the smell of eucalyptus trees and, on warm days, the feeling that hangs in the air around them. Simply put, a jewel of a book. More
By emily kischell (Dec 31, 2004)
1.Autobiography Of A Yogi By Paramahansa Yogananada More
By SFS Staff (Dec 31, 2004)
1. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
This sensitive novel is so convincing it will make you question whether or not you're autistic. That's a good thing. More
By Kit Stolz (Dec 31, 2004)
1. A Map of Doubt and Rescue by Susan Miller (2004)
Thoughtful drama in this country is in a strange place; this play won the prestigious Pinter Prize in 2004, but has yet to be staged outside of conferences. Still, this stands out: a play in which most of the characters turn into literally new people as they search for a way to transform their mistakes into new possibilities. It's strange but fascinating, with spectacular dialogue and an openness to total and complete change that can touch hearts across great distances. More
By Lenore Weiss (Dec 30, 2004)
Solution Unsolved: The Murderer is Caught, but the Biggest Mystery is Left Unsolved
By Mario Bruzzone (Dec 24, 2004)
Michael Chabon's great strength has always been his short stories -- whether 1998's "Son of the Wolfman" or the stories of 1992's "A Model World," they are consistently better than the uneven 'The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay' and more heartfelt and honest than 'Wonder Boys', the two novels that made him famous. And because of this, Chabon's new novella "The Final Solution", is most welcome. More
Once upon a time, an agent was a writer's best friend. Now getting an agent is just as tough as finding a publisher, and just as crucial. One insider offers her advice.
By emily kischell (Nov 29, 2004)
I used to work at the Writers House agency in Manhattan as assistant and reader for the founder Albert Zuckerman, an old-school book guy with a long-term client base of dedicated authors. When he started his business three decades ago, Zuckerman didn't have much of an office so he would meet his clients in a bank lobby, according to agency legend. A swanky bank lobby, as grandiose as a ballroom, but a bank lobby nonetheless. He started small and built up to a renowned agency run from a book-lined brownstone in Chelsea. More
Dana Gioia's Disappearing Ink
By SFS Staff (Nov 29, 2004)
As you might expect from a writer who has served as a top marketer for a giant food corporation and is now chair of the National Endowment for the Arts, Sonoma County poet Dana Gioia examines his craft and the role of poetry not as rarified literature but as a dynamic part of the American cultural conversation. More
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