Category: Africa

Dreams in a Time of War by Ngugi wa Thiong’o

A few years ago I was bowled over by Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s Wizard of the Crow, a bitter satire about an African dictator whose corruption has reached surreal heights and a few ragtag rebels who combat his regime. I joined in an extensive discussion of Wizard of the CrowRead the rest

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Like The Weather

1. Natalie Merchant has recorded a double album, Leave Your Sleep, containing her own musical settings of classic poems by Mervyn Peake, Gerard Manley Hopkins, e. e. cummings, Charles Causley, Rachel Field, Robert Graves, Edward Lear, Jack Prelutsky, Arthur Macy, Ogden Nash, Charles E. Carryl, Nathalia Crane, Robert … Read the rest

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Reviewing the Review: January 30 2010

This isn’t widely remembered today, but for about fifteen years Patti Smith was nearly as reclusive as J. D. Salinger. First she helped invent punk rock and released four superb albums in the 1970s, then she disappeared to marry fellow musician Fred “Sonic” Smith and live quietly as a mother … Read the rest

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A Bookstore Grows In Brooklyn

1. I’ve seen a lot of things in my life, but I’ve never before had the pleasure of watching a bookstore get born. I met blogger/bookseller Jessica Stockton Bagnulo three years ago when we both joined the Litblog Co-op at the same time, and I noted it here in January … Read the rest

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Detroit Housewife Writes Play

1. “Detroit Housewife Writes Play”. That’s how Joyce Carol Oates says she was received as a young beginning writer as she reminisced during a special event Monday night at the Smithsonian Institution. I’ve heard this writer speak before and in fact enjoyed it enough to want to hear her again … Read the rest

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Indian Food for Breakfast

1. Author J. G. Ballard has died.

2. Pankaj Mishra is angry about the “Tandoori-Chickenisation of the literary palate in the west”, or the “vastly increased preference for ‘ethnic’ literature among the primary consumers of literary fiction: the book-buying public of western Europe and North America.” As an enthusiast for … Read the rest

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Reviewing the Review: April 5 2009

I didn’t go for Joseph O’Neill’s novel Netherlands last year, but he hits an assignment to review The Letters of Samuel Beckett: Volume 1: 1929-1940 on the cover of the New York Times Book Review out of the park this weekend, and I’ll read Joseph O’Neill on Beckett any time. … Read the rest

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What We Deny

I recently wondered what I would think about Jonathan Littell’s big new novel The Kindly Ones, an intentionally repulsive exploration of the genocidal Nazi personality that won big awards in France and has now been published, with high expectations, in an English translation. At this point, I’ve consumed so … Read the rest

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