The Letter Killers Club, by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovksy

New York Review Books publishes a forgotten classic of genre mashups and social satire. Continue reading The Letter Killers Club, by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovksy

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Crow: From the Life and Songs of the Crow, by Ted Hughes

Roberto Bolaño’s novel The Savage Detectives chronicled a literary movement named “the Visceral Realists.”  Crow: from the Life and Songs of the Crow by Ted Hughes offers the reader a kind of visceral realism.  The poetry cycle recounts the life and times of Crow, a folkloric character, comedian and trickster.  The collection ranges across various types of poems: fairy tales, lullabies, legends, comedic shtick, and parody.  Like the crows one sees everyday, Crow scrabbles in waste, carrion, and garbage.  He is a scavenger, appropriating things, a collector of junk.  The poem titles bear this out, “Oedipus Crow,” “Crow Tyrannosaurus,” and … Continue reading Crow: From the Life and Songs of the Crow, by Ted Hughes

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The Singular Exploits of Wonder Mom & Party Girl, by Marc Schuster

Audrey Corcoran is unhappy, affected by the vague nameless malaise that creeps into those with thwarted ambitions and unrealized desires.  Audrey works at Eating Out, a “shopper magazine” one usually sees in grocery stores and restaurants.  In this case, the “magazine” – really a glorified press release and advertising delivery device – caters to the businesses on the Golden Mile, a strip of middlebrow chains and franchises.  The Singular Exploits of Wonder Mom & Party Girl chronicles Audrey’s alienation and annoyance at the petty power games and trivialities in her comfortable middle class existence. Living with her two children, the … Continue reading The Singular Exploits of Wonder Mom & Party Girl, by Marc Schuster

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Forgotten Classics: The Dark Labyrinth (1947) by Lawrence Durrell

  An infrequent feature on classic books forgotten to the mists of time. The name Lawrence Durrell is not a name mentioned with any frequency these days, but his work deserves a revival.  The Dark Labyrinth, published in 1947, begins with a simple enough premise: a small group of tourists visits a Cretan labyrinth.  In the ensuing narrative, the group gets lost with certain members getting rescued while others never return.  With this basic plot, Durrell spins a tale chock full of philosophical rumination, surgical precision social satire, and capacious character development.  The foredoomed tour group includes a failed artist, … Continue reading Forgotten Classics: The Dark Labyrinth (1947) by Lawrence Durrell

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80sSFF: Apocalypse Now (1979) and Apocalypse Now Redux (2001)

The first part in a series dedicated to examining the science fiction and fantasy films from 1979 to 1989.  The series will investigate whether these films possess certain ineffable qualities missing from today’s films of the same genres. Kurtz: I expected someone like you. What did you expect? Are you an assassin? Willard: I’m a soldier. Kurtz: You’re neither. You’re an errand boy, sent by grocery clerks, to collect a bill. Why are we beginning a series devoted to the science fiction and fantasy films of the 1980s with Apocalypse Now?  Francis Ford Coppola’s epic Vietnam War film holds the … Continue reading 80sSFF: Apocalypse Now (1979) and Apocalypse Now Redux (2001)

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