Displaying articles for: June 2013

Sticks and Stones...

Over the course of four previous novels, Max Barry has proven himself a gonzo satirist and a black-comedy inclined futurist of no mean abilities.  Deadly funny, with barbs of cultural commentary hidden within his absurdity.  As with all such writers—Robert Sheckley, William Tenn, Kurt Vonnegut, Will Self, Christopher Moore and George Saunders, for instance—this exaggerative, extrapolative talent means he also has his sensitive fingertips securely fastened to the pulse of the present, whose more uncanny dimensions he also often explores.  For it is only the keen analysis and tracking of "what is" that provides the solid foundation from which "what might be" (however outrageous) can believably arise.

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Old World Magic in Old New York

Very few debut novels exhibit the charm, assurance, emotional depth and bravura fabulation which the lucky reader will discover in Helene Wecker's The Golem and the Jinni. Like some agreeable conflation of Isaac Bashevis Singer, Mark Helprin and the anonymous compiler of One Thousand and One Nights, Wecker delivers an ambitious yet gracefully humble novel featuring the best of classic European and Middle Eastern fancies, reimagined and reembedded in a vivid New World milieu, at once numinously odd and groundedly naturalistic.  The result is utterly unique and enchanting.  Perhaps the famous debut of Susannah Clarke, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, might be the last occasion for such rejoicing at a new voice in the genre and beyond.

 

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Maris Kreizman on NOOK Snaps

A new oral history of a groundbreaking comedy troupe, a porn magazine editor's memoir, short fiction from an award-winning novelist, and more: editor Maris Kreizman joins us to talk about NOOK Snaps.

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April 23: " 'A job,' the woman repeated again, smiling, as if I hadn't heard her. 'Would you like one?' "

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Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.

The Promise of Hope

Killed last year in the infamous terror attack at Nairobi's Westgate mall, Kofi Awoonor was a national treasure in his native Ghana.  His career began in 1964 with Rediscovery, and this magnum opus serves as a tribute to his entire long journey charting his beloved nation's course through his accomplished poetry.

Winter Mythologies and Abbots

A pair of linked stories finds that, as translator Ann Jefferson relates, "[Pierre] Michon's great theme is the precarious balance between belief and imposture, and the way the greatest aspirations can be complicated by physical desire or the equally urgent desire for what he calls glory."