THE NUDE WALKER in Bathsheba Monkâ€™s entertaining read is Barbara Warren, a schizophrenic who tends to walk around downtown Warrenside in the buff when sheâ€™s off her meds. The Warrens were once the industrial scions in Warrenside, a fictional town in Pennsylvania. As the town, which used to be the center of the booming steel industry, gradually went into decline, so too rusted the fortunes of the Warrens. These days, Barbara isolates herself in the past, clinging on to memories of the glory days and worrying (because nobody else will, she says) that by 2012, European Americans would be the minority in town.
Robbie and Maize, the principal characters in Ralph Sassoneâ€™s immensely readable debut novel, THE INTIMATES, totally fit the profile of these restless and searching young adults. As the book opens, the two are still in high school; Maize nurses a crush on her guidance counselor and when Robbieâ€™s path crosses hers, it doesnâ€™t immediately amount to much. Robbie is gayâ€”a fact he doesnâ€™t realize until much later in high school.
GHOST LIGHT by Joseph Oâ€™Connor is a brilliant and complex book. It is one of the best books I have read in the last five years. The language is poetic and hallucinatory and this is a book where one can’t skip passages or lines. Every word is necessary and the whole is a gift put together with the greatest care and love.
To be comfortable in the world of the Kafkaesque, one must slowly climb up the literary ladder, page after page, year after year. My journey began with the likes of V.C. Andrews during my tawdry youth, and then eventually reached its pinnacle with Tolstoy, and of course, Kafka. Aside from my literary snobbery (which is nothing short of a veneer â€“ I still love me some Sidney Sheldon), having entered Kafkaâ€™s abyss of absurdity and horror makes Hans Keilsonâ€™s novel, COMEDY IN A MINOR KEY, not only recognizable, but entirely brilliant.
Hints of travel writer Ian Frazierâ€™s latest project showed up in a recent issue of the New Yorker magazine, when an excerpt from TRAVELS IN SIBERIA was published. Having evocatively captured the spirit of a Native American reservation and the American Great Plains in earlier work, Frazier set his sights on a much grander levelâ€”he decided to travel across Siberia. A self-confessed lover of all things Russian, Frazier travels across Siberia despite warnings to the contrary
What is the relationship between persecutors and their victims? In THE DEATH OF THE ADVERSARY â€“ poised on the brink of what soon will be one of the worldâ€™s most horrific tragedies â€“ an unnamed narrator in an unnamed country reflects on an unnamed figure who will soon ascend to power. Although the figure (â€śBâ€ť) is never revealed, it soon becomes obvious that he is Hitler and that the narrator is of Jewish descent.