Archive for October, 2011
What would the world do without Bill Bryson? One simply wants to sit at his knee with a huge grin and listen interminably. I‚Äôm an irredeemable skinflint and get all my reading material from the library, but At Home is one book I would seriously like to buy for myself. Considering I have almost no books apart from reference books, my Complete Shakespeare and a Bible I once found in a discard pile somewhere, that‚Äôs saying quite a lot.
I was in my late thirties when the poet Arthur Rimbaud first crossed my horizon. It was Jim Harrison, the American writer, who brought him to my attention. In his memoir OFF TO THE SIDE, Harrison writes, ‚ÄúI think that I was nineteen when Rimbaud‚Äôs ‚ÄėEverything we are taught is false‚Äô became my modus operandi.‚ÄĚ Harrison continues, ‚Äú…Rimbaud‚Äôs defiance of society was vaguely criminal and at nineteen you try to determine what you are by what you are against.‚ÄĚ I admire Harrison a great deal. If he liked Rimbaud, if Rimbaud was the man, then I needed to know more.
David Lamb has the emotional life of a Rubik‚Äôs Cube. All the pieces are there but it seems impossible at times to get his emotional life organized, put together, and working well. He‚Äôs like a chess game played by one person, every piece under his dominion, tutelage and control. Only he can checkmate his own self. Damned if he does, damned if he doesn‚Äôt.
Poor Holden Caulfield. In Catcher in the Rye, he muses, ‚ÄúGirls. You never know what they‚Äôre going to think.‚ÄĚ How right he was! In Elissa Schappell‚Äôs new short story collection, the old blueprints for Appropriate Female Behavior — the name of a vintage etiquette manual, 1963 edition — have all been tossed away. And now the girls and women are forced to muddle through with the new rules: Be yourself but also be what your boyfriend, parents, and girlfriends want you to be as well.
Hannah Payne is twenty-six years old and Red, with a capital R, her badge of shame. Her skin has been ‚Äúmelachromed‚ÄĚ by the State for her crime of abortion, and for not naming the abortionist and not identifying the father, the celebrated pastor and TV (‚Äúvid‚ÄĚ) evangelist, Aidan Dale, who is now the nation‚Äôs ‚ÄúSecretary of Faith.‚ÄĚ Her sentence is thirty days confinement, and then sixteen years in the community as a Red, where she will be constantly ostracized and persecuted.
THE CONSUMMATA finds Morgan the Raider on the run in Miami‚Äôs Little Havana and being chased by ‚Äúfederal suits‚ÄĚ teamed with ‚Äúlocal fuzz‚ÄĚ who think he has 40 million dollars in stolen funds. With no place to hide, the chase seems to be coming to its inevitable conclusion, but suddenly Morgan finds himself snatched and hidden from the feds by some of Little Havana‚Äôs Cuban community.