Online Edition: Winter 2010/2011

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Graphic Novels | Fiction | Young Adult Fiction | NonFiction |Poetry | Drama | Art


FEATURES

Anticipating The Man Who Killed Don Quixote
To deal with Don Quixote is to deal with the ultimate knight-errant tale
of chivalry, idealism, madness, comedy, books, and failure.

essay by rob mclennan

Transcript of Frank O’Hara and Kenneth Koch Conversing
at an Unspecified Cafe, As Found on WikiLeaks

A commentary on Kent Johnson's A Question Mark Above The Sun
by John Bradley

Setting Fires: The Poetry and Prose of Deborah Digges
A long look at the life and work of this gifted poet, who died tragically in the spring of 2009.
by James Naiden

Two Books by Caleb Fox
In Zadayi Red & Shadows in the Cave, Fox fashions a gripping story about the ancestors
of the Cherokee people, deftly capturing the intense spiritual relationship these ancients
had with the land, the animals, and the gods.
Reviewed by Kelly Everding

mnartists.org presents:
Alec Soth

A new feature presenting the exceptional work of Minnesota artists.
essay by Andy Sturdevant


Reviews

GRAPHIC NOVELS

Real-World Horror: A Review of John Constantine, Hellblazer

While it is generally billed as a horror comic, the enduring series John Constantine, Hellblazer can more productively be read as a lengthy treatise on the terrors of the real. Reviewed by Spencer Dew

Lynd Ward: Six Novels in Woodcuts
Lynd Ward

Comic art must finally be coming of age, if this distinguished boxed set edition of works by famed woodcut artist Lynd Ward is any indication. Reviewed by Paul Buhle

MIXED-GENRE

In Danger: A Pasolini Anthology
edited by Jack Hirschman

Edited by Jack Hirschman, whose eclectic résumé as a poet and activist makes him an apt choice, this new Pasolini anthology balances poems and prose, the latter limited to literary reviews, essays, and interviews. Reviewed by Mark Gustafson

Microscripts
Robert Walser

Released earlier this year, Microscripts is a selection of short sketches and treatments very much in Walser’s sinewy and suspiciously polite style. Reviewed by Brent Cunningham

FICTION

Nemesis
Philip Roth

In his thirty-first book, Roth returns to the well-trod ground of the Weequahic section of Newark, the setting of his first published work and the childhood home of some of his best-known protagonists. Reviewed by Yevgeniya Trap

Arriving in Avignon
Daniël Robberechts

An atypical coming of age tale, Arriving in Avignon splendidly describes and embodies the quicksilver terrain between life recalled and life recounted. Reviewed by Laird Hunt

Driving on the Rim
Thomas McGuane

Between the entertainment, the artistic mastery, and the frank spiritual quest, the total effect of Driving on the Rim is uplift. Reviewed by Steve Street

My Kind of Girl
Buddhadeva Bose

A derailed cargo train strands a doctor, a writer, a contractor and a bureaucrat together for a single night, setting the stage for four stories of love, loss, and bitter memories. Reviewed by André Naffis-Sahely

The Taste of Penny
Jeff Parker

Parker’s new collection of stories transforms our view of the world we inhabit, triggering a moment of clarity amid an increasing saturation of cultural noise. Reviewed by Charles Dodd White

Every Man Dies Alone
Hans Fallada

Fallada’s great novel undertakes a weighty theme: the little man versus the totalitarian menace that enslaves him. Reviewed by Malcolm Forbes

Letters to Emma Bowlcut
Bill Callahan

Sandwiched between a surrealistic dog and a bronze boxer on trap rock, Bill Callahan’s Letters to Emma Bowlcut mails seventy-two messages to a distant lover with humor and elegance. Reviewed by Karl Krause

C
Tom McCarthy

An ambitious bildungsroman that made it to the Man Booker Prize shortlist, Tom McCarthy’s C follows the strange life of Serge Carrefax to his occult shipboard death in the 1920s. Reviewed by Will Fertman

Negative Space
Robert Steiner

The power of Robert Steiner’s new novella comes not from its subject matter but from its prose, which offers a lyrical philosophy of loss, memory, and pain. Reviewed by John Madera

Super Sad True Love Story
Gary Shteyngart

As the title promises, this latest novel by the Russian-born satirist Shteyngart is soaked in super-duper, in your face, overstated sadness. Reviewed by Mark Budman

The Sexual Life of an Islamist in Paris
Leïla Marouane

In Leïla Marouane’s intriguing novel, the main character is a bundle of contradictions—a “good Muslim” who aspires to a Western, lecherous life. Reviewed by Spencer Dew

Just Enough Jeeves
P. G. Wodehouse

For those not already familiar with P. G. Wodehouse’s Jeeves material, a sketch: these are funny books about rich British people, set more or less in the first half of the twentieth century. Reviewed by Brian Conn

Sunset Park
Paul Auster

In his latest tour de force, Auster threads together philosophical questions about life into a pinball narrative set against the gloom-and-doom backdrop of the 2008 financial collapse. Reviewed by Ben Woodard

Notwithstanding
Louis de Bernières

In two of the most touching scenes in this collection of connected stories, women cavort fantastically with their long-dead lovers in a hopeful reminder of the power of memory amidst inevitable change. Reviewed by John Cox

The Country of Loneliness
Dawn Paul

Lacking her own family recollections, Paul has interwoven real and imagined narratives of her alcoholic father to create this novel inspired by real-life events. Reviewed by Ellen Orleans

Slut Lullabies
Gina Frangello

Frangello proves herself an observant student both of need and of lack, and has crafted a collection of stories that examine the tangled nuances of each condition. Reviewed by Spencer Dew

YOUNG ADULT FICTION

Agent Q, or The Smell of Danger!
A Pals in Peril Tale

M. T. Anderson

If you have children, or know any children, or have ever in your life seen or heard of children, use that as an excuse to find and read this book immediately. Reviewed by William Alexander

I Am Number Four
Pittacus Lore

This New York Times bestseller, soon-to-be-a-motion-picture, attempts to mix the ingredients of a major hit. Reviewed by Shawn Patrick Doyle

The Chaos Walking Trilogy
Patrick Ness

In his Chaos Walking Trilogy, Patrick Ness offers a mind-bending cautionary tale that challenges our ideas of power politics between ruler and subjects, men and women, and settlers and indigenous peoples. Reviewed by Kelly Everding

ART

Stickwork
Patrick Dougherty

Entering one of Patrick Dougherty’s ephemeral twig wonders is to plunge into daydream—a sinuous, lyrical enfolding of pleasurable, vegetable tangles. Reviewed by Eliza Murphy

The Ethics of Earth Art
Amanda Boetzkes

In Boetzkes new book, the works of earth artists are like apertures through which the earth manifests itself without being reduced to our own frame of reference. Reviewed by Deborah Karasov

NONFICTION

Writers and Their Notebooks
edited by Diana M. Raab

Raab and the essayists she has assembled in Writers and Their Notebooks fully embrace the act of “journaling.” Reviewed by Brigitte Frase

Stalling for Time: My Life as an FBI Hostage Negotiator
Gary Noesner

Noesner's book is a strangely nostalgic book—one that, for anyone who was alive in the 1990s, will make the last decade's political shifts seem abundantly strange indeed. Reviewed by Weston Cutter

Less is More
Cecile Andrews & Wanda Urbanska, eds.

Can a population caught on the gerbil wheel of economic meltdown ever acquire the leisure and presence of mind to make sustainable changes? Reviewed by Amy Groshek

The Cross of Redemption
James Baldwin

This uncollected miscellany of Baldwin’s writings bring to the fore the crisis of racism and his solution of radical love. Reviewed by Spencer Dew

Droppers
Mark Matthews

Matthews traces the origin and vision behind the creation of Drop City, a hippy commune that grew outside Trinidad, Colorado in the 1960s. Reviewed by Scott F. Parker

Infidel Poetics
Daniel Tiffany

Tiffany’s new critical book not only returns us to the scene of lyric obscurity, but provides a rich genealogy of adjacent literary forms that advances a theoretically persuasive account of such obscurity. Reviewed by Michael Snediker

Absence of Mind
The Dispelling of Inwardness from the Modern Myth of the Self
Marilynne Robinson

Robinson confronts the mind head on and argues for its existence as an entity much larger and more elusive than any mere biological or evolutionary function. Reviewed by David Wiley

A Foreigner Carrying in the Crook of His Arm a Tiny Gun
Amitava Kumar

Kumar’s book, whose title derives from a similarly titled book of poetry by Edmond Jabes, focuses on the criminal trials and personal histories of two men convicted of “aiding and abetting” terrorists. Reviewed by Mukund Belliappa

Lonelyhearts
The Screwball World of Nathanael West and Eileen McKenney
Marion Meade

These two remarkable people were not at all what they seemed, each having an inner force that, despite their complex problems, attracted people to them. Reviewed by Douglas Messerli

Extra Lives
Why Video Games Matter
Tom Bissell

Bissell sees video games re-writing the ways we consume popular narrative with formal and interactive intelligence beset by storytelling best washed down with “a gallon of aesthetic Pepto.” Reviewed by Scott Newton

POETRY

Pitch: Drafts 77-95
Rachel Blau DuPlessis

Pitch is the latest installment of DuPlessis’s life poem, a work that could be put into the same category as Pound’s Cantos, Zukofsky’s A, and bp Nichol’s Martyrology. Reviewed by John Herbert Cunningham

Theory of Mind
New & Selected Poems

Bin Ramke

Hurricanes, and the fundamental changes they have made to his native region in the Gulf Coast, seem to function in Theory of Mind as a lens through which to view Ramke’s thirty-plus year poetic career. Reviewed by MC Hyland

Christopher Sunset
Geoffrey Nutter

Nutter’s poetry seems to be powered equally by sunlight, virtue, wonder, and humility. Reviewed by Nate Pritts

Objects for a Fog Death
Julie Doxsee

Doxsee populates her poems with shadows, magnets, birds, ghosts, and angels, but the water is the primordial element that rules over all. Reviewed by Paula Koneazny

Break the Glass
Jean Valentine

Arranged in four sections, Valentine's new poems are as delicate as lace and as strong, despite their often irregular patterns and open spaces. Reviewed by Mark Gustafson

Hallucinations in the Alfalfa and Other Poems
Griselda Garcia

This bilingual collection represents the work of a young Argentinian poet who has become a powerful voice. Reviewed by John Herbert Cunningham

DRAMA

La Ronde
Arthur Schnitzler

At first only privately circulated, this play, which follows the sexual affairs of ten couples, was recognized as too outspoken even by its author. Reviewed by Douglas Messerli

New Europe: Plays from the Continent
edited by Bonnie Marranca and Małgorzata Semil

Strong plays built around socio-cultural uncertainty comprise this anthology. Reviewed by Justin Maxwell



 

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