Archive for the ‘Pen Faulkner’ Category
The book jacket of the hard-bound edition is entrancingly deceptive. Printed on what feels like watercolor paper, it shows a colored vignette of men in white playing cricket on a village green watched by spectators relaxing in the shade of a spreading chestnut tree. It could well be the nineteenth century, except that the skyline in the background is Manhattan, and Joseph O’Neill’s novel is set in the first years of the present century. Written in a style of such lucidity that it might almost be an autobiographical memoir, it is the narrative of three years or so in New York City. The protagonist Hans van den Broek, a Dutch-born financial analyst, thirtyish and near the top of his profession, arrives there at the start of the millennium with Rachel, his English wife, herself a high-powered lawyer. But after the attacks of 9/11, Rachel returns to England with their infant son. Hans stays on.
WAR DANCES, Sherman Alexieâ€™s collage of short stories and narrative and prose poems, covers familiar Alexie territory: the melancholy comedy of ordinary lives, where irony and coincidence strike like rattlesnakes, swiftly and unexpectedly. His characters, often but not always of Native American descent, grapple with a changing culture and their place in it. They journey toward the ideal but end up, more or less, in a place no better than where they began. And although the sons pay for the sins of their fathers, the fathers suffer, too. Redemption comes when least expected, and the best intentions sour. Alexie is both cynic and comedian, toying with his characters and their impossible circumstances, rarely willing to bestow upon them the good fortune of an unequivocal happy ending