Books

Book Review: Of Spongy Minds and Award-Winning Books

November 26, 2010
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Call it anarchistic boorishness, an artist chomping on the hand that feeds him. But at least Thomas Bernhard is honest about why he welcomes awards — he wants the money, especially because the amounts, given European largess to its culture-makers, are considerable. My Prizes: An Accounting by Thomas Bernhard. Translated from the German by Carol…

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Judicial Review #3: Gish Jen’s World and Town [Updated2x]

November 23, 2010
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Gish Jen’s novel about New England small-town life in the new millennium, “World and Town,” has just come out in a paperback. We greeted the hardback edition of the book with a Judicial Review, a fresh approach to creating a conversational, critical space about the arts. It is a good time to highlight the innovative approach again. The aim is to combine editorial integrity with the community—making power of interactivity.

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Poetry: On “Falling Back”— Six Poems Published in The New York Times Op-Ed Page

November 13, 2010
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Was Sunday, November 7th some sort of equinox? Were there sunspots? Whatever the cause, six poems, to my delight and surprise, appeared in the Op-Ed pages of The New York Times as a feature called “Falling Back.” I’d like to take this opportunity to editorialize about these six poems, five of which were penned by…

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Fuse Interview: Boston native Lydia Peelle wins 2010 Whiting Writers’ Award

October 28, 2010
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The Whiting Award winner’s short story collection is made up of tales filled with a gentle lyricism as well as a clear-eyed concern for characters stuck in “survival mode,” men and women, sheep farmers and taxidermists, who are scraping by, past their prime, or morally lost. By Bill Marx. Born in Boston and raised in…

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Book Interview: “Prejudices” Complete — The World According to H. L. Mencken

October 26, 2010
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It is our good fortune that the Library of America has decided to make H. L. Mencken’s Prejudices, a mother load of uproarious, unruly, acidic reviews and commentaries on all things American — books, music, democracy, religion, education, food, women, mores — available.

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Book Review: Classic Coming-of-Age?—The Chester Chronicles

October 24, 2010
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Kermit Moyer’s exquisitely written book, conceived with the greatest care and written with an art that conveys artlessness (the highest art of all), is a welcome addition to the American canon. The Chester Chronicles by Kermit Moyer. Permanent Press, 231 pages, $28. By Roberta Silman. As the epigraph for his first novel, Kermit Moyer quotes…

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Classical Music Feature: Listening to a Legend

October 16, 2010
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Alfred Brendel was the first pianist to record all of Beethoven’s piano music in the 1960s and made many world tours with the 32 sonatas, which seemed like old, close friends. At times he would simply play a snippet here and there to illustrate a point, yet never long enough to satisfy this listener. I…

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Theater Commentary: A Rare Outing for an Undervalued American Drama

October 13, 2010
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Can’t we get our unjustly neglected American playwrights right? A chance to see a marvelous, overlooked American play of the 1950s.  And it is not by the prosaic William Inge. “When something seems ‘the most obvious thing in the world’ it means any attempt to understand the world has been given up.” — Bertolt Brecht…

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Book Review: Green’s Garden of Delights

September 30, 2010
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David Green’s stories make for compelling literature—the kind of reading which poses a challenge today because of its exploration of psychological complexity, enigma, confusion, and suspense. The Garden of Love and Other Stories, by David Green. The Pen & Anvil Press, $14.95 Reviewed by Christopher M. Ohge. The romantic poetry of William Blake first came…

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Book Review: A Norwegian Ghost Story

September 19, 2010
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The novella revolves around that oxymoron of “silent voices”: Jon Fosse’s aim is to evoke the insinuating power of self-destructive forces that lie beyond our control.

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