Oct/Nov 2007

e c l e c t i c a   r e v i e w s  & 
i n t e r v i e w s

Reviews & Interviews

(These are excerpts—click on the title to view the whole piece!)

Gilbert Wesley Purdy reviews...

The Human Line
by Ellen Bass

The troubles of the world which the poet laments in her summary moments are wholly the fault of others outside of its borders: those with access to fissile materials, those who construct the built world—the world that she navigates to considerable advantage—at the cost of plant and animal species, those in possession of the technologies of dam building or DNA.

Cross This Bridge at a Walk
by Jared Carter

The longer poems, in particular, are wrought like an authentically detailed bas-relief carved into the side of an old mahogany chest. They are handmade, as it were, by someone who knows his craft, its practicable limits, and his subject.

Piano & Poetry
by Olga Magieres

Magieres plays a straightforward rendition of the old chestnut while Katz's vocals go from a frog-ish bass, to an exaggerated falsetto, to whispering, to simply speaking the lyrics. Klapper's sound effects slowly crescendo to accompany Katz until a pounding, dissonant piano and drum set join in for a grand, chaotic finale.

Ann Skea reviews...

Two haunting books
by John Burnside

We know almost from the beginning of the book that he has killed a boy. What we do not know, is how this came about and what people and events in his childhood brought him to do it.

The Verneys: A True Story of Love, War and Madness in Seventeenth-century England
by Adrian Tinniswood

His accounts of the turbulent history of the times and of the wars which took place in Scotland, Ireland and England, often show the astonishing and ludicrous mismanagement and stupidity which accompanied the bloody events. And his occasional humorous asides throughout the book are a delight.

Dead Lucky: Life after Death on Mount Everest
by Lincoln Hall

For the next few hours he lapsed in and out of coherent consciousness. At times he was lucid and capable, at other times crazy: he refused his oxygen mask, fought to go back up the mountain, and tried to jump off Kangshung Face.

Shakespeare's Wife
by Germaine Greer

When Greer gets down off her high horse and writes about facts related to contemporary custom and society in general, rather than fantasy, she is very good.

Maryanne Snell reviews...

Ten Best Graphic Novels of the Year & Harvey Award Winners
by various authors

When a plague of unknown origin instantly kills every mammal with a Y chromosome, unemployed and unmotivated slacker Yorick Brown suddenly discovers that he is the only male left in a world inhabited solely by women.

A Fall Celebration of Comics & Graphic Novels
by various authors

Glister is an unflappable and adorable heroine, from her mussed hair to her matter-of-fact acceptance of the presence of a ghost. (Her reaction is explained to a great extent by the practical manner with which her father heads out to roust a troll from under their bridge.)

Understanding Teenage Girls: a Round-Up of DC's Minx Line
by various authors

Echoes of Emma and Pride and Prejudice resonate as Lottie, thinking she knows everything, makes assumptions about people and their intentions, flubbing up romance, friendships, and her murder investigation.

Comics Column: Can Minx Bring Girls to Comics?

That the books appeal to teenage girls isn't a question for me. When I showed them to the girls I work with, every one of the almost thirty girls was interested in at least one of the titles. These girls range in age from twelve to eighteen, from voracious readers to learning disabled. Some were drawn to the art, others to the plot synopses.

Kajsa Wiberg reviews...

The Price of Silence

And so, gripping their son tightly, he slams an ultimatum in her face: lose An-ling, or lose your family. But Emma is far beyond the point where she could be talked to her senses; she's too absorbed in the mother-daughter relationship she never had. And so she goes to live with An-ling instead.

Niranjana Iyer reviews...

by Emma Donoghue

The experience doesn't augur well for her frequent flyer miles, though—the passenger in the adjacent seat seems ill, and towards the end of the flight, Jude realizes she has been sitting next to a corpse for several hours.

The Naked Tourist
by Lawrence Osborne

Osborne is simultaneously merciless and empathetic towards his subject matter, and for someone who complained so much at the start, recounts his very real misfortunes with deadpan humor. There is, for instance, and occasion where an ant crawls out of a biscuit he's eating and bites him on the eye. "Within an hour, I looked like Quasimodo," he writes.

Barbara Newton-Holmes reviews...

Hallelujah! The Welcome Table
by Maya Angelou

When made according to the recipe, the pie is "unimaginably good," bearing no resemblance to the acid-yellow rubber that often passes for lemon meringue pie; it's light and gentle, tangy but not sour.

Cicily Janus reviews...

Inventions I: Fictions, Fusions & Poems
by Carol Novack

Then there are the babies: "What to do with the Babies?" Should we ask Daddy what to do with the babies? Or should we ask the moon?

Colleen Mondor reviews...

Hillbilly Gothic: A Memoir of Madness and Motherhood
by Adrienne Martini

There is much more here than emotional struggles—the author's descriptions of the area she grew up in and living in Knoxville, Tennessee where he daughter was born are particularly evocative. She manages to bring both James Agee and Frances Hodgson Burnett into her discussion of Knoxville, and Cormac McCarthy, Rachmaninoff and Hank Williams.

Books about troubled families
by various authors

Sometimes, you just have to deal with the fact that not all parents should have been allowed to have children.

Books of mystery
by various authors

I was very happy to see the Lewis Carroll bits in the story, and also the tarot cards and the creepy British ghost stories. (I do believe this is the first time anyone has thought to explain to readers what treacle is.)

Fall Picture Book Celebration
by various authors

One extraordinarily fanciful spread shows people coming from "far and near" and includes a man on a flying carpet, a pilot in a biplane, a double-decker bus and men riding camels, horses, and an elephant. (Oh—and also an alien in a flying saucer!)

Glorifying Terrorism
edited by Farah Mendlesohn

In this story the rebels—the terrorists—are unabashedly the heroes, just as Brown was to so many and just as American history struggles with referring to him today.

Geoffrey H. Goodwin interviews...

A.G. Devitt
Author of the comic books series Channels

I've never been into conformity and always wanted to do things my own way and at my own pace, and the indie market had less editorial constraints. It's been only recently that I have been attempting to break out of the underground.

Dolores D'Annolfo interviews...

Steve Augarde
Author of Winter Wood

Too often writers fall for the old tale of the manuscript that was rejected on forty-five occasions before being accepted. They take this to mean that if only they keep sending and sending then someday somebody will say "yes." Stop wasting your time and everybody else's. There's obviously something very wrong with what you're submitting, and if that's the case, do you really want every publisher in the land to see it? Is this first impression the one you want editors to have of you when you send in your next piece?

Corey Mitchell interviews...

Sam Adams
Author of Precious Blood

Actually, my inspiration was for fiction writing and I have two novel manuscripts completed. The jump to true crime came because of my wife. She suggested that publishers might be more receptive to nonfiction from me because of my background as a journalist, and she was right.

Sam Adams interviews...

Corey Mitchell
Author of Strangler

As far as striking a chord, nothing beats stories about Hollywood and murder. I believe the fact that I went beyond the usual Hollywood celebrity murders is what made the book stand out. I also wrote about serial killers, mass murderers, police corruption, whodunits, drug abusers, O.J. Simpson, the Charles Manson case, and so much more.

Gilbert Wesley Purdy interviews...

Olga Magieres
Composer of Piano & Poetry

As I learned, the group of experimental music composers in Tel Aviv was very inspired by Skraep's concerts in Tel Aviv, in the year 2000, and already there they decided to create their own festival of experimental music. Since then, every year, in the end of June, the White Night Festival takes place, and I had the pleasure to participate in three of those happenings.

Elizabeth P. Glixman interviews...

Karen Tei Yamashita
Author of Circle K Cycles

I had written the book in response to a very narrow vision of Los Angeles as Hollywood and a racially divided city between blacks and whites, but maybe the current response to the book is precisely this changing recognition of L.A. as Latino and a crossroads for global migrations.

Scott Malby reviews...

Five Lit Sites—Quick and Dirty

You can bet that 99.9% of what passes for mainstream literary significance today will represent an irrelevant sideline. The problem is that, for the most part, we don't know what the future will find significant in terms of its experience, and it is precisely that unknowable variable that will cause it to rank today's voices in terms of relevance.