Jul/Aug 2020

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!)

Ann Skea reviews...

A Theatre for Dreamers
by Polly Samson

Looking back years later, Erica remembers the 60s as a time when young backpackers "took the hippy trail," experimented with drugs and were "craving languor and sex and mind alteration" after wartime austerities. "Ha! To my dad I was a bloody beatnik" she writes, but "we were heady with ideals, drunk with hopes."

The Satapur Moonstone
by Sujata Massey

Purveen's first visit to the palace does not go well. After a frightening, stormy, and accident-filled journey through the jungle by palanquin, she arrives wet and disheveled and is turned away at the palace gate. She gains admittance by sending in one of the gifts she has brought for the royal women: a moonstone pendant.

An Alice Girl
by Tanya Heaslip

The second purchase of cattle entailed an equally hazardous, 500-kilometer droving trip to get them to Bond Springs. Tanya Heaslip's descriptions of both journeys bring home the unforgiving nature of the land, the heat, the exhaustion, the almost-disasters which the men overcame by sheer determination not to give in, and the ever-present danger of cattle breaking loose from the mob and the whole mob scattering and being lost.

Real Differences
by S.L.Lim

Two years after Nick first meets him, 16-year-old Tony, discovers Islam through a Bangladeshi classmate who is also a member of the debating team. Hasan is an active and charismatic Muslim and organizes a group of Muslim boys who meet for lunchtime prayer. "The rest of the school mostly regarded them as harmless curiosities" and their classmates would "form a united wall of derision and contempt" for the few students who expressed racist views about "migration and immigration."

Maybe the Horse Will Talk
by Elliot Perlman

Stephen "absolutely" hates his job, but he needs it in order to pay his mortgage and support his wife and two small sons. Becoming a lawyer in the first place had been a decision made for economic reasons. He and his wife, Eleanor, could no longer survive on their teaching salaries, so they had decided Eleanor would support Stephen through law school. That, and the eventual demands of corporate life have left their marriage "terminally ill."

Tom Dooley interviews...

Stanley Jenkins
author of The Harrowing of Hell

Like I said, I haven't seen Ramy, but I have seen Fleabag, and I absolutely loved the first season. Now, THAT made a spiritual crisis look fun! The second season, with the hot priest thing, however, just left me pissed off. I'm pretty sure I'm in the minority here, but, to me, it was just so cliche. I don't know if you remember the mini-series, The Thornbirds, but this whole hot priest thing is hardly cutting edge.

Gilbert Wesley Purdy reviews...

The Second Four Books of Poems
by W. S. Merwin

Poets made very little money from their poetry any longer, or their reviewing. But they were no longer bohemians, insurance or bank executives with free time, beneficiaries of family trust funds, etc. They were issued a steady paycheck to teach those programs; programs that needed to attract large numbers of students in order to cut those paychecks. “Accessibility” was the byword.

and discusses...

His departure

What is clear—and all too predictable—is we have had to give trillions of dollars to the wealthiest among us in an attempt to keep the economy from collapsing. There is little choice. A failure would make us wish for the good ole days when we only had tens of millions receiving enhanced unemployment checks, only scattered arson and looting to worry about, and hospital intensive care units only strained to their limits instead of impossibly beyond them.