Online Edition: Fall 2005


Poetics, Revelations, and Catastrophes: An Interview with Kamau Brathwaite

Barbados's respected man of letters discusses spiritual and natural forces, history, poetry, ecology, and technology    interviewed by Joyelle McSweeney

Bipolar Worlds: An Interview with Chris Stroffolino

The poet, essayist, and singer/songwriter on the American poetic landscape, the Beats, and teaching literature    interviewed by Aryanil Mukherjee

That Kinko's Guy: An Interview with Paul Orfalea

Kinko's founder Paul Orfalea blasts teaching to tests, vouchers, and educational elitism in America    interviewed by Robert J. Nebel

Chris Bachelder and the Politics of Giving a Damn

Advocating for irony, and trying to rescue a wildly original satire from literary oblivion
   essay by Justin Taylor



Anansi Boys
Neil Gaiman

Gaiman crafts his newest novel, Anansi Boys, with the deftness of a spider weaving a web, luring the reader deeper and deeper into the story until she is simply stuck—helpless against its masterful humor and fun.   reviewed by Kelly Everding

Small Island
Andrea Levy

Recipient of last year’s Orange Prize as well as the Whitbread Book of the Year Award, Levy’s novel addresses questions of belonging in the years before, during, and shortly after World War II.   reviewed by Christopher J. Lee

Holy Skirts
René Steinke

Steinke’s Holy Skirts measures a life lived out of time, the ephemeral existence of the fictional World War I era artist Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven.   reviewed by Garin Cycholl

Lance Olsen

Constructed of 100 two-page connected vignettes, Olsen’s new novel takes on the rapid modern-day consumerist consciousness of movie-goers at the Mall of America’s AMC Theater.   reviewed by Scott Esposito

An Outline of the Republic
Siddhartha Deb

Set on a fragile strip of land that connects India to Burma, China, Bhutan, and Bangladesh, Deb’s novel is a subtle exploration of identity and conflict, without a whiff of exoticism.   reviewed by Niranjana Iyer

Chuck Palahniuk

While often disturbing and occasionally disgusting, Palahniuk’s latest is not a very scary book, but rather a black satire consisting of 18 narratives by aspiring novelists.   reviewed by Kevin Dole

Maps for Lost Lovers
Nadeem Aslam

Aslam develops a set of relationships that reveals the ways in which love—often abetted by religion and nationalism—can divide people instead of bring them together.   reviewed by Scott Esposito


Written on Water
Eileen Chang

Now available in English for the first time, acclaimed novelist Chang’s essays on literature, art, war and urban life in Communist China provide another facet to this fascinating 20th century author.   reviewed by Lucas Klein

Spring Forward
The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time
Michael Downing

Downing chronicles the surprisingly checkered and bizarre history of Daylight Saving Time, unveiling in the process the huge economic and cultural forces that depend on it.   reviewed by Carrie Mercer

H. P. Lovecraft: Against the World, Against Life
Michel Houellebecq

After reading Houellebecq reading Lovecraft, you come to see not only the affinities, but the degree to which Houellebecq has prepared Lovecraft for us, making him available to us as readers of Houellebecq.   reviewed by Joel Turnipseed

True Story
Murder, Memoir, Mea Culpa
Michael Finkel

Ex-New York Times reporter Finkel attempts to redeem his tarnished reputation by interviewing a conman who was caught impersonating him, uncovering both men’s predilection for prevarication.   reviewed by Elaine Margolin

The Truth Book
Escaping a Childhood of Abuse Among Jehovah’s Witnesses
Joy Castro

In spite of the subtitle and the blood red dust jacket, this is not a sensationalized story. Castro provides a balanced look at the suffering she endured and the truths that were so effectively ignored.   reviewed by Anne F. McCoy

The Middle of Everything
Memoirs of Motherhood
Michelle Herman

Herman rhapsodizes on the wonder of first-time motherhood and grants her daughter Grace her every wish, with dire consequences.   reviewed by Clifford Garstang

Beyond the Bleep
The Definitive Unauthorized Guide to What the Bleep Do We Know!?
Alexandra Bruce

Taking a middle-ground standpoint, this much welcome guide enables the reader to get a much better grasp on the science the film ultimately fails to adequately describe.   reviewed by Jaye Beldo

The First Crusade by Thomas Asbridge
The Fourth Crusade and the Sack of Constantinople by Jonathan Phillips

Two books on the medieval religious holy wars create a stark contrast, with the First Crusade a miraculous military success and the Fourth a dismal failure, burdened with debt and division.   reviewed by Summer Block


Anne Carson

This collection of poetry, essays, and an opera is propelled by Carson’s flood subjects, knowledge and desire, and reaches after the elusive.   reviewed by Courtney Queeney

Spinoza Doesn’t Come Here Anymore
Colette Inez

In her ninth collection of poems, Inez manages to redeem shabbiness and loss with wonder and awe.   reviewed by Daniela Gioseffi

Wise Fish: Tales in 6/8 Time
Adrian Castro

Castro latest grapples with the multiplicity of language in our postcolonial, postmodern moment.   reviewed by Shannon Gibney

Escape Velocity
David Breskin

Breskin describes a world in which people are slipping further into poverty, society is becoming more indifferent to its woes, and love is a passive virtue.   reviewed by Ross O'Hara

Stefanie Marlis

Marlis delivers poetic puzzles and ethical investigations in a varied and fulfilling new volume.   reviewed by Eric Elshtain

Cosmos & Damian
David Michalski

Through a collage of poetry, prose, interviews, confessions and scholarly thesis, Michalski tells one personal story set against the backdrop of the World Trade Center.   reviewed by David Madgalene


Planetary: Leaving the 20th Century
Warren Ellis & John Cassaday

In this third volume of an extraordinary series, the dramatic tension grows and the mythos solidifies—while three “mystery archaeologists” continue to try to tidy up the past.    reviewed by Woody Evans

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