Review: HART CRANE edited by Langdon Hammer

Hart Crane’s Bridge To Nowhere

by William Logan for NY Times Books (Jan. 28, 2007)

“Before Hart Crane’s leap into the Caribbean that fatal April noon in 1932, he folded his jacket over the ship’s rail with impeccable manners. Striking out into the glassy sea, he was seen no more, dying younger than Byron but older than Shelley.”

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Published in: on January 31, 2007 at 12:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

Review: POWER, FAITH, AND FANTASY by Michael B. Oren

Midnight At The Oasis

by Max Rodenbeck for NY Times Books (Jan. 28, 2007)

“Around the time of the War of Independence, America’s main contact with the Middle East consisted in trading Caribbean rum for Turkish opium. It’s hard not to wish, reading the epic story of this 230-year relationship, now usefully condensed into a single well-researched volume, that things could have remained as simple as the swapping of your recreational poison for mine.”

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Published in: on January 31, 2007 at 9:30 am  Leave a Comment  

Review: THE VIRGIN OF FLAMES by Chris Abani

The Recycled City

by Karen Olsson for NY Times Books (Jan. 28, 2007)

“Chris Abani has done an end-run around the immigrant novel. In two previous books, Abani, who was born in Nigeria, traced a path from third world to first: “GraceLand,” his bustling novel set in Lagos, closed with a young man’s departure for the United States; his novella “Becoming Abigail” followed the title character from Nigeria to London.”

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Published in: on January 31, 2007 at 8:50 am  Leave a Comment  

Review: OTHER PEOPLE’S PROPERTY by Jason Tanz & TO THE BREAK OF DAWN by William Jelani Cobb

One Nation Under Hip-Hop

by Adam Bradley for Washington Post/Book World (Jan. 28, 2007)

“Hip-hop is dead. That’s what rap legend Nas claims in the title of his latest album. He just might be right. According to Nielsen Soundscan, album sales in all genres declined by nearly 5 percent in 2006, largely attributable to the increasing popularity of digital downloads.”

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Published in: on January 30, 2007 at 5:47 pm  Leave a Comment  

Review: DIRT FOR ART’S SAKE by Elisabeth Landensen

Lusty Literature

by John Sutherland for Washington Post/Book Worlld (Jan. 28, 2007)

“Elisabeth Ladenson’s witty meditation on literary obscenity pivots on “irony, paradox, and absurdity.” How, she ruminates, can one generation’s “dirt” be another generation’s “art”? “How does an obscene work become a classic?” It’s a fascinating set of hows.”

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Published in: on January 30, 2007 at 3:44 pm  Leave a Comment  

Review: SOMETHING IN THE AIR by Marc Fisher

The Rise of Radio

by Douglas Brinkley for Washington Post/Book World (Jan.28, 2007)

“Ear-splitting static was the curse of AM radio in its formative decades. A far-off bolt of lightning or stiff wind would cause a wallop of staccato crackles, pops and buzzes to emanate out of your home box. Determined to get the static out of radio, David Sarnoff, one of the founders of both RCA and NBC, put his technical mastermind, Edwin Armstrong of Columbia University, on the case.”

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Published in: on January 30, 2007 at 1:44 pm  Leave a Comment  

Review: OBLOMOV by Ivan Goncharov

Being and Laziness

by JosephFrank for The New Republic (Jan. 25, 2007)

“Anyone with a claim to literacy is familiar with the names of Tolstoy, Turgenev, and Dostoevsky, and can cite some of the titles of their most famous works. But Goncharov and his novel Oblomov, of which a new translation, a snappily colloquial and readable one, has just been published — who ever heard of them?”

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The Words Palette Extra

Like to read a few pages of an old edition of OBLOMOV? Click here.

Published in: on January 26, 2007 at 9:45 am  Leave a Comment  

Interview: Paul Auster

The Book of Paul Auster

by Jill Owens for POWELLS (Jan. 24, 2007)

” Paul Auster has been writing beautiful, metaphysical, mysterious novels for a long time now. Some of them are funnier than others, some more devastating in their conclusions. He’s also written screenplays, poetry collections, essays, plays, and memoirs. His latest, Travels in the Scriptorium, could be seen as a distillation of much of his life’s work — a multi-layered, spare puzzle of existence and creation, conveyed in lovely, minimalist prose. Booklist admires it as “an archly playful and shrewdly philosophical tribute to the transcendence of stories.”  ”

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Published in: on January 26, 2007 at 9:34 am  Leave a Comment  

Review: FALSE SELF by Linda Hopkins

Psycho Analyst

by Amy Bloom for NY Times Books (Jan. 21, 2007)

“If I were a snob, a liar, a drunk, a philanderer, an anti-Semite, a violent bully, a poseur and a menace to the vulnerable, I would want Linda Hopkins to write my biography.”

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Published in: on January 25, 2007 at 4:07 pm  Leave a Comment  

Review: THE BASTARD OF ISTANBUL by Elif Shafak

Armenian in Istanbul

by Lorraine Adams for NY Times Books (Jan. 21, 2007)

“There is a moral putrescence peculiar to the denial of genocide. Yet denial’s practitioners are all around us. The Sudanese government calls the butchers of Darfur “self-defense militias.” ”

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Published in: on January 25, 2007 at 12:03 pm  Leave a Comment