Posted 25 December 2019 - 11:38 PM
Don’t worry that it’s long, it’s really good. It’s just physically heavy (and too big for my book stands). Uwe Johnson, NYRB.
Posted 27 December 2019 - 12:18 AM
O. Henry, “Gifts of the Magi.”
William Burroughs, “Junky’s Christmas” and “They Call Him the Priest” (early and late versions of the same story).
Kingsley Amis, Christmas drink recommendations from his Everyday Drinking.
John Arlott, “Dear boy...” an imaginary letter to his son from his Guardian wine column.
John Arlott, “The Hungry Traveler” from Another Word With Arlott.
Posted 04 January 2020 - 11:24 PM
Paul Bowles’ second novel arrived in the mail, to my surprise (Let it Come Down). Retracing my steps, I remembered dipping into a book about the Beats and their precursors over the holidays. Sure enough, it’s cited there, and it appears I found a $4 copy online on Christmas evening, after the Cornas. 🤔
Posted 06 January 2020 - 11:16 PM
I say that with regret because his actual texts (novels if you will) are wonderful.
Posted 17 January 2020 - 11:48 PM
Posted 17 January 2020 - 11:51 PM
Posted 19 January 2020 - 11:04 PM
I had wanted to read John McDowell’s Mind and World but was too mean to pay internet prices for used academic books. Then I found a free pdf. So I have too much to read right now. On the other hand, it all amounts to a lighter load than Anniversaries.
Posted 25 January 2020 - 11:32 PM
Through the eyes of a teenage girl, growing into her mid-twenties, the fortunes of a family in Aleppo as the country is overtaken by the civil strife of the 1980s. It’s a bloody business, captured in full horror by the author, but through an erotic and lyric lens. Best I can do at describing it.
The early family scenes before violence take over recalled, to me, The Cairo Trilogy, but Khalifa isn’t content with Maguib’s realist register (in that work).
The girl/young woman lives through the contradictions between her religious and political faith and the surrounding temptations of sex and Westernisation.
The third section, set in prison, is gripping. The point at which the English version ceases to be wonderful is at the end of that section, because the fourth section...is missing.
The publisher (not the translator) lopped off the end of the book. An incredibly stupid piece of vandalism which means a new edition is urgently needed.
What we have, in a English, is highly recommended. I immediately picked up his next novel (translated in full, I trust).
Posted 30 January 2020 - 03:43 PM
The above, composed in the distinctive, galloping prose style familiar from Platt's long form New York magazine pieces, with the familiar odd stumbles (how can a choucroute garnie be "laced with" sauerkraut?), but entertaining enough. I did not know about his brief career writing Talk of the Town pieces for the New Yorker.
Posted 31 January 2020 - 11:45 PM
If only. It’s a kind of diffuse ramble, with very little insight. And finally with some very conservative reactions to modern art (abstract painting and Finnegans Wake are disdained, without much supporting argument).
I read it so y’all didn’t have to.
Posted 04 February 2020 - 12:19 AM
Catch-22. It’s a strange experience because I am so familiar with the plot, characters, and even the best lines. Trying to imagine how fresh and sharp it would have been at the time, or if I’d read it when I was 18.
Posted 04 February 2020 - 12:29 AM
Westerby started out as a young writer of mean streets, blue collar thrillers in the U.K., long before the Angry Young Men. His classic in that genre: Wide Boys Never Work (1937). Recommended. There is a straight line from that to The Who’s Quadrophenia.
This is his memoir of his early life, in and out of London at the time of WW1. It’s very funny.
In the forties he moved to Hollywood and had a long, successful career as a screenwriter. He could do the dialogue.