Edna O'Brien's The Light of Evening. By Claire Dederer The first 10 pages of The Light of Evening took me about an hour to read. My husband mocked me from the other couch: "Have you gotten to Page 4 yet?" I'm not the only person who has waded, rather than leapt, into Edna O'Brien. Her admirers—who include Frank McCourt and Alice Munro—urge us to go slowly, to savor her writing. It's dazzling, they say. Also, radiant. O'Brien has her own language, stilted and cumbrous when you first encounter it. These ought to be straightforward sentences—after all, the words are familiar and unfancy. I made my way along as through a thicket, and the story began to coalesce: Dilly has shingles, and possibly worse. Eleanora is her daughter, a famous writer, who has left Ireland for England and left her mother for what Dilly sees as a series of godless relationships. Here I noticed that a change had come over my reading. O'Brien is, in fact, a writer constantly balancing two impulses: the poetic and the sensational.
The National Book Critics Circle | Links Your reviews seed this roundup; please send items to NBCCCritics@gmail.com. "Poetry is in the air." Jan Gardner delivers the New England Literary News. Susanne Pari reviews A Sliver of Light by Shane Bauer, Josh Fattal and Sarah Shourd. Jon Wiener interviews Edmund White for the Nation. "This Tightly Choreographed Tale Of Ambition And Ballet Will 'Astonish.'" NBCC board member Colette Bancroft reviews Peter Matthiessen's latest novel. Clea Simon reviews Laura Kasischke's Mind of Winter for the Boston Globe. Parul Kapur Hinzen interviews inaugural poet Richard Blanco for Guernica. "'Empathy Exams' Is A Virtuosic Manifesto Of Human Pain." At the Rumpus, Joelle Biele reviews Jonterri Gadson's Pepper Girl. Bill Williams reviews The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert. Susan Shapiro's new book, reviewed by the New York Times. NBCC board member Carolyn Kellogg reviews Zachary Lazar's new novel, I Pity the Poor Immigrant. "Beauty and Subversion in the Secret Poems of Afghan Women."
Goodreads | recent updates from your friends Great Olan Mills photos Total frickin' awesomeness from Olan Mills, Sears and other fine portrait studios. Those glasses came free with a purchase of Brut cologne. Thoughtful Lance. Mirthful Lance. Two sides of a delightful coin. Drake won Bitchin'est Senior Mullet by a landslide. That dude wore a tie for nothing. The Purvis family made several stops along the Oregon Trail to document their six-month journey. I wanted a shot like this for my wedding. It's called a leisure suit, ladies and germs, and if you didn't have one in the early 70s, you were a big fat loser. It's a vagina, madam, not a clown car. Olan Mills backdrop #4: Bucolic Meadow with Split Rail Fence. Gene had always secretly wanted to lay hands on Chet Picture day at the asylum Butt-cut, wings and earmuffs. Oh, this is super. Bobbi isn't the first waitress to fall for her manager, but she and Dale both got fired from Sonny's. Rejected Toby Keith album cover. Just a typical afternoon down on the plantation. This photo isn't discolored. "The Damned"
40th Anniversary: The New York Books Canon New York is a hypertextualized city. By 6 a.m., our commuters have smudged more words off their papers than most cities read all day. How to even begin identifying a canon? While reading, I plotted candidates along two mystical axes: one of all-around literary merit, and the other of “New Yorkitude”—the degree to which a book allows itself to obsess over the city. Robert Caro’s The Power Broker just about maxes out both axes; others perseverate so memorably on smaller aspects of city life that they had to be included. There were, of course, regrettable omissions: Jimmy Breslin is a quintessential New York writer whose main strength is not books; Puzo’s Godfather was better as a movie. NORMAN MAILER, THE ARMIES OF THE NIGHT, 1968 Although most of the book’s action—Mailer’s rabble-rousing at a protest march on the Pentagon—takes place 200 miles south of the city, this still belongs in the New York canon. ROBERT A. E.L.
Recipes for the hot days Wow. When I first decided to host an event, I convinced myself that I'd be satisfied with even ten entries. Never in a million years would I have expected 64 of you to participate! Now, let's get to it! I received two versions of salsa. Lucy from Sweets, Savories, etc. sent in the second salsa, inspired by the Southwestern Egg Rolls from Chili’s (one of my favorite chain restaurants). One of my favorite foods to come out of Greece is Tzadziki Sauce—it’s so versatile and tasty. Susan and Kenny from Life at Quail Hollow made good use of their copious tomatoes with this Tomatoes and Goat Cheese appetizer. The next starter is a real looker--Ricotta-Stuffed Zucchini Rolls made by Jude of Apple Pie, Patis, and Pate. Lore from Culinarty sent in our final hors d'oeuvre. I wasn’t sure where to stick the entry from Sandi of WhistleStop Café. Let’s move on to the cold soups: I'm not kidding when I say that avocados are my weakness. How about a different but equally enticing gazpacho?
BookDaily Either Commit Suicide or Start Giggling: An Interview with Andrei Codrescu Interview by Sophie Erskine. 3:AM: Andrei, thanks so much for agreeing to answer my questions. I hope they won’t be too stupid. You became an American citizen in 1981 but had grown up in Romania. Do you think this sort of culturally-mixed background is helpful to creative individuals? For example, does it mean you can understand different points of view better than if you had only lived in one country? AC: You should live in at least seven countries for a minimum of one year in each before you are seventeen, and must speak and write at least five languages in order to be a half-decent poet. 3:AM: You famously covered the Romanian Revolution of 1989 for National Public Radio. AC: My ignorance and nostalgia helped more than my writing. 3:AM: I’m loving your new book, The Posthuman Dada Guide: Tzara & Lenin Play Chess. 3:AM: Speaking of amusement, you say that the first Dadas “drew their force from everything and anything, but mostly from laughter.
BookGlutton Donald Barthelme’s Syllabus There was a time when I fought against an impatience with reading, concealing, with partisanship, the fissures in my education. I confused difficulty with duplicity, and that which didn’t come easily, I often scorned. Then, in my last year of college in Gainesville, Florida, I was given secondhand a list of eighty-one books, the recommendations of Donald Barthelme to his students. Barthelme’s only guidance, passed on by Padgett Powell, one of Barthelme’s former students at the University of Houston and my teacher at the time, was to attack the books “in no particular order, just read them,” which is exactly what I, in my confident illiteracy, resolved to do. But first I had to find the books, a search that began at Gainesville’s Friends of the Library warehouse book sale. When the garage door opened, I watched the all-nighters sprint into the warehouse, toward the wall-to-wall shelves and the sixty or so tables of books, the odor of dampness and dust.
The Book Cover Archive 25 Important Books of the 00s I decided, in the slew of retrospective ‘best of’ lists chronicling the decade we will be putting to rest in the next weeks, that even though I’m not the biggest fan of lists that try to span even a year, much less 10 of them, I might as well put something together. Of all the lists I’ve seen so far there hasn’t been a single one that came near anything remotely representing the kind of words I like to read, many of them repeating the same names by the same people in the same spots. And that’s fine and good, okay, I guess. Lists like this are really hard to put together in a way that everybody and their mother won’t be throwing darts at where you missed out and what’s wrong with what you put in, and that’s fine and good, okay, too. And this list is surely going to be no exception. There are some obvious gaps. Oblivion, David Foster Wallace (Little, Brown, 2004) ["Mr. Rising Up and Rising Down, William Vollmann (McSweeney’s, 2003) Europeana, Patrik Ourednik (Dalkey Archive, 2005)
The Rumpus Interview With David Shields David Shields, author of three novels and seven works of nonfiction, attempts to demolish the foundations of literature in his latest, Reality Hunger: A Manifesto. His target: the culture. He argues that there has been a dreadful trend in fiction, and not just genre fiction and the mass-market best seller, but within the entire literary spectrum. Stories using too much detail, too much description, stories within stories within stories deviating and dwelling in obscure tangents and conventional formula. David took time off from his busy schedule to meet in Wallingford, a neighborhood just west of the University of Washington overlooking Lake Union and the Seattle skyline. The Rumpus: You excoriate the traditional novel and fiction in Reality Hunger, yet you began writing fiction. David Shields: That’s a funny analogy. Rumpus: You dismiss fiction as entertainment. Shields: Too often it is. Shields: Give me an example. Rumpus: Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balance. Shields. Rumpus: Right.
To Be or Not to Be? by Brendan Kiley - Features - The Stranger, Seattle's Only Newspaper + Enlarge this Image KING COUNTY SUICIDE DEATHS by Age Group 2008 SUICIDE METHODS in King County 2008 Last summer, a University of Washington parking-lot attendant hanged himself from the side of a campus garage while setting himself on fire. The flames burned through the cord, dropping him into the alley below, where he died of two simultaneous causes—burning and falling. The same day somewhere else in King County, a man who'd hanged himself in his bathroom nine years earlier finally succumbed to anoxic encephalopathy and died: a time- delayed suicide. "'Tis impious, says the old Roman superstition, to divert rivers from their course," David Hume wrote in a rare (and exasperated) defense of suicide in 1755. "It would be no crime in me to divert the Nile or Danube from its course," he fumed. We haven't come close to answering the question. A total of 13,339 people died in King County in 2008. Some jump into Lake Union and others jump onto the adjacent parking lot of Adobe Systems. Dear Mom: