Liver: A Fictional Organ with a Surface Anatomy of Four Lobes by Will Self

A Review with a Surface Anatomy of Four Lobes 1. A Culinary Introduction Liver: A Fictional Organ with a Surface Anatomy of Four Lobes by Will Self explores and revels in decay and degeneration, gushing with bile and blood.  The quartet of interconnected short stories focus on the liver, a bodily organ with interconnected lobes. The liver functions by processing toxins and connects to the gall bladder.  People also consume liver as a delicacy.  The dish “liver and onions” is a classic in American cuisine.  I have eaten deer liver with onions and I enjoy the taste.  Prior to preparing … Continue reading Liver: A Fictional Organ with a Surface Anatomy of Four Lobes by Will Self

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In re Dollhouse Riffs

“Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!” Things get complicated. Due to the unprecedented awesomeness of Dollhouse, I’ve decided to forgo writing any more Dollhouse Riffs until Season Two concludes.  As you know, dear readers, I avoid writing the usual episode summary.  “This was cool.  This wasn’t cool.”  My essays aim for a more critical and analytical perspective.  Fortunately and unfortunately, the December episodes of Dollhouse have really threw me for a loop.  The reappearance of Alpha, the labyrinthine mindscrew of the Attic (both the episode and as a biotechnological concept), and Adelle’s assembly of a Dollhouse: LA Scooby Gang leave … Continue reading In re Dollhouse Riffs

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Journey to the End of the Night (1932), by Louis-Ferdinand Céline

In the black heart of the Great Depression, as Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Adolf Hitler rose to power, Louis-Ferdinand Cèline set the French literary scene afire with Journey to the End of the Night.  By turns darkly comical, hallucinatory, and picaresque, the novel charts the misadventures of Bardamu.  From the trenches of the First World War to French colonial Africa to New York City and Detroit, Bardamu experiences each place with his own jaundiced eyes.  Eventually he returns back to suburban Paris, a small-time doctor working with impoverished patients.  Bardamu is not alone.  His friend, one Robinson, accompanies him as … Continue reading Journey to the End of the Night (1932), by Louis-Ferdinand Céline

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The Temptation of St. Anthony by Gustave Flaubert

A work of singular genius.  The plot is simple: Anthony, a monk, goes out to the desert to meditate, gets tempted.  But what temptations!  Flaubert pulls out all the stops in a decadent, phantasmagorical, hallucinatory, excessively brilliant novel.  While the book is written like a play, it is clearly a novel, since staging this would be impossible. (Maybe Terry Gilliam or Michel Gondry could film it?) Our benighted monk gets tempted by all manner of beasts, demons, and sexy ladies, while the reader is treated to a panoply of cults, heresies, and sects, fighting for his attention. While a literary … Continue reading The Temptation of St. Anthony by Gustave Flaubert

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Hard Times by Charles Dickens

Yuck! Soot, coal, suffering. Rinse, lather, repeat. Even by the standards of Dickens’ classic sentimentality for the underdog, this novel is a dud. Probably not the best introduction to Charles Dickens unless you want your child to enjoy the pleasures of never reading again. This novel makes Zola’s Germinal, also about downtrodden coal miners, seem like a work of candy-colored upbeat positivity. Dickens’s advice to coal miners getting steamrolled by the Man. Continue reading Hard Times by Charles Dickens

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