Online Edition: Winter 2003/2004

Reviews

FICTION

The Thackery T. Lambshead Pocket Guide to Eccentric and Discredited Diseases
edited by Jeff VanderMeer and Mark Roberts

Don your mask and wash your hands: You might catch a disease by reading this review! Reviewed by Justin Maxwell

Mirage
Bandula Chandraratna

In this generous novel, Chandraratna's characters search for a semblance of happiness under conditions not of their choosing. Reviewed by Christopher J. Lee

The Spider World Series
Colin Wilson

In this harsh study of evolution by the author of The Outsider, conflicts of intelligence versus might and entitlement versus inheritance predominate as the novels ask what determines a species' survival and what kind of survival it might be. Reviewed by Kris Lawson

Tomb for 500,000 Soldiers
& Eden, Eden, Eden

Pierre Guyotat

Warning: we are about to enter the most unabashedly depraved realm in the history of the printed word: the world of Pierre Guyotat. Reviewed by Rod Smith

Ground Works: Avant-Garde For Thee
edited by Christian Bök

This anthology of innovative Canadian fiction appears at the very moment when such work has begun to "receive unprecedented international acclaim." Reviewed by Nicholas Birns

See Through
Nelly Reifler

The spare stories in Reifler's startling debut demand that the reader piece the whole together. Reviewed by Neil Kozlowicz

Tent of Miracles
Jorge Amado

Amado explores the engrossing world of Salvador de Bahía, Brazil and its juxtapositions of class, ethnicity, and religion in this 1969 gem. Reviewed by Alicia L. Conroy

Elizabeth Costello
J. M. Coetzee

The newest Nobel Prize winner's latest work takes the form of a series of public lectures and the stories that surround them. Reviewed by Michael Sayeau

Deep Purple
Mayra Montero

Although there is something troubling about a pompous male's sexual exploits, Montero's point is a melancholy one: Every phase in life comes to an end. Reviewed by Kristin Thiel

A Place So Foreign And Eight More
Cory Doctorow

In this deft and minimalist collection of science fiction tales, the characters have an insatiable desire for forbidden knowledge which takes the shape of bizarro technology. Reviewed by Doug Pond

MIXED GENRE

Dürer in the Window
Reflections on Art

Barbara Guest

This book not only collects Guest's writings on art from the '50s to the present, but it is a beautiful object in itself, designed by artist Richard Tuttle. Reviewed by Corinne Robins

Stories From the City of God
Pier Paolo Pasolini

Neo-realist Italian film maker, poet, novelist, and Marxist theorist, Pasolini is an icon of Italian culture, which he captures deftly in these stories and sketches. Reviewed by Tom Sanfilip

Phoebe 2002
An Essay In Verse

Jeffery Conway, Lynn Crosbie, and David Trinidad

Three poets create a mock epic of All About Eve, the 1950 film about celebrity, ambition, and betrayal in the theater world. Reviewed by Steven Moore

POETRY

María Sabina: Selections
Edited by Jerome Rothenberg

The ever-astute Rothenberg here offers an important new selection of writings by shaman/poet María Sabina. Reviewed by Hank Lazer

The Midnight
Susan Howe

This book will appeal to collectors—those with a thirst for juxtaposition, who revel in connections among words and things. Reviewed by Michelle Mitchell-Foust

Chances Are Few
Lorenzo Thomas

An expanded edition of Thomas's first major book of poetry showcases his plainly spoken and unpretentious observations. Reviewed by Christopher Luna

Trilogy
Pentti Saarikoski

Known for a time as The Blond Beatle of the North, Saarikoski is a major Finnish poet whose landmark Trilogy is now translated by Anselm Hollo. Reviewed by Gregory Farnum

Deer Head Nation
K. Silem Mohammad

This book of poems wants to be America, although it may not particularly like America ... Reviewed by Aaron Kunin

Problem Pictures
Spencer Selby

Welcome to verbo-visual poetry: 100 pages of alarming configurations of ink by a master of the form. Reviewed by W. B. Keckler

Book of Haikus
Jack Kerouac

Be very quiet: You might hear the sound of one Beat clapping. Reviewed by Keith Abbott

Poets of World War II
edited by Harvey Shapiro

Editor Harvey Shapiro--himself a veteran of 35 combat missions as a B-17 tail gunner-sets a solemn tone in this anthology from The Library of America. Reviewed by Jeffrey Alfier

NONFICTION

War is a Racket
Smedley Butler

Butler, the most decorated Marine ever to leave a battlefield, wrote this controversial book in 1935. and it's still relevant today. Reviewed by Joel Turnipseed

A Tragic Honesty: The Life and Work of Richard Yates
Blake Bailey

Richard Yates was once the exemplar of the "writer's writer"—hailed by his peers but largely unread by the people he was so committed to writing about: ordinary Americans. Reviewed by Kathleen Andersen

Mainlines, Blood Feasts, and Bad Taste
A Lester Bangs Reader

edited by John Morthland

Bangs's pyrotechnic, adrenaline-fueled diatribes are rife with jarring cultural references, unpopular and unexpected opinions, and infectious passion for the music which consumed him. Reviewed by Adam Hall

Getting Personal: Selected Writings
Phillip Lopate

This collection of essays by one of the form's acknowledged masters traces the arc of Lopate's personal and professional lives. Reviewed by Ricky Opaterny

Lives in Translation
Bilingual Writers on Identity and Creativity

Edited by Isabelle de Courtivron

Love affairs with languages and their emotional histories abound as these writers contemplate writing in a second tongue. Reviewed by Karl Krause

The Oath
A Surgeon Under Fire

Khassan Baiev (with Ruth and Nicholas Daniloff)

Baiev administered to the wounded during the Russo-Chechen wars of the '90s, and for his trouble was branded a traitor by both sides. This is his story. Reviewed by Scott Esposito

Beyond Belief
The Secret Gospel Of Thomas

Elaine Pagels

In seeking solace after her son's near fatal illness, Pagels asks the question that drives this book: "What is it about Christian tradition that we love—and what is it that we cannot love?" Reviewed by H. E. Everding

Mexifornia
A State of Becoming

Victor Davis Hanson

Hanson, conservative military historian and long-time California farmer, takes a crack at charting a middle course on the thorny problem of illegal Mexican immigration. Reviewed by Anis Shivani

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