Apr/May 2008

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...

Directed by Ron Fricke

Composer Michael Stearns's generally unobtrusive score suddenly erupts in a cacophony of bag pipes, drums and Tibetan water music, thrumming darkly, as Kuwaiti oil fields burn and the burnt out hulks of Iraqi armored vehicles litter the roads in the wake of Saddam Hussien's withdrawal from the country. Distant violin notes and random metallic rattling punctuate an equally distant Jewish song of lament as the camera travels the ghostly halls of Auschwitz.

Ann Skea reviews...

by Jonathan Raban

This is the Seattle of tomorrow, but only just. Everything Raban describes is already there in some degree (as it is in every other big city) and the gradual and insidious loss of personal freedom is something we already live with.

Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain
by Oliver Sacks

"All of us, to some degree, have music in our heads," writes Sacks: but thankfully not all of us are possessed by music as are some of the people in Musicophilia.

Kajsa Wiberg reviews...

Prayer of the Dragon
by Eliot Pattison

The thought that these worlds would exist, cramped together, with hardly any intermingling at all, walks the line to impossible, though without ever overstepping it. This, I think is a crucial part of the author's message, of a Tibet that is part ancient, part mystery, part abused, part connected to the Navajo culture, and part something utterly different from everything else I have ever known.

Niranjana Iyer reviews...

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox
by Maggie O'Farrell

Her hospital admission record cites her insistence "on keeping her hair long" as well as an episode where she danced before a mirror "dressed in her mother's clothes" among the reasons for her incarceration.

Colleen Mondor reviews...

Lady of the Snakes
by Rachel Pastan

There is the potential for clichés in Lady of the Snakes; we are dealing after all with a woman torn between family and career and a marriage that crumbles under the strain. But Jane's fascination with her subject will be very familiar territory for anyone in academia and her discovery, while not of the outlandish Dan Brown variety, would be irresistible for anyone involved in long-term research.

International Mysteries
by various authors

Getting to the bottom of the conflicting stories and power struggles reveals more about how little everyone knows about Gaza, especially westerners, than anything else. “…there's always someone fighting for this stretch of land,” Yussef tells his friend James. “Usually with no real knowledge of it or claim to it. The Jews were here millennia ago and the Arabs have been here more than a thousand years, but everyone else who fought for this place was a stranger drawn by greed or hatred or God.”

Lots of Picture Books
by various authors

What jolts the Barrio residents out of their comfort zone is a visit from the new librarian to the local school. She is Pura Belpre, whom Gonzalez explains was the first Puerto Rican librarian hired in the New York Public Library system. Discovering that Spanish is spoken at their local library excites the children and convinces the adults that they will be welcome there.

Clifford Garstang interviews...

Mary Akers
Co-author of Radical Gratitude and Other Life Lessons Learned in Siberia

Picture yourself entering a room filled with hungry people. In this room, there are tables loaded with all types of wonderful foods—foods that must be eaten with a spoon. The only problem is that the spoons provided are 1 meter long. Because of this, no one can eat; the mood in the room is one of dissatisfaction, anger, and frustration.

Elizabeth P. Glixman interviews...

Warren Adler
Author of New York Echoes

Writing is hardwired into a writer’s DNA. It is like the color of eyes or a fingerprint.

Cicily Janus interviews...

Matt Marinovich
Author of Strange Skies

I can vividly see her, naked on the balcony, that guy in the distance waving. There’s something wonderful about how she deals with her diagnosis. That whole feeling of having to live life in terms of months not years: It makes you behave in a completely different way.

Scott Malby reviews...

Five Lit Sites—Quick and Dirty

If you're in a contrary, wounded minnow, rather freaky frame of mind, this imaginative site could be for you.