In the above comment I meant to say "the winds of wifi," not "the wings of wifi." But I guess that's hardly important. Disregard this comment, I suppose.
Are you familiar with the Insane Clown Posse? The moments in your review when you touched upon the current state of our culture made me think of some aspects of their oeuvre. Specifically, I'd like to quote the opening of their first album, "The Ringmaster." (It is in fact their second studio album, but I like to think that it is, in some spiritual sense, actually their first.)
The opening of the first song of that first album, "Wax Museum," is a spoken-word piece delivered by the Gypsy Fortune-Teller. I'd like to quote his words in full. Bear with me--I do believe this is important.
The Gypsy Fortune-Teller says to us: "Greetings. Welcome to the Gypsy of Fortunes--your coin was very much appreciated, and now I shall grant you your future…. It seems my cards of tarot have dealt you a very odd hand, a hand of six jokers' cards--this is very rare, and suggests something most hideous is approaching you. You shall be visited by a dark circus, a circus of horror, pain, and anguish. This traveling mass of evil will leave your lifeless corpse to rot while entrapping your soul to be displayed at future stops…. Oh yes, you must also be aware that it is your own evil doings that have brought about this dreaded carnival's visit: all of the sins and hatred you have cast during your life have whipped and spun into form, the form of one who leads this gruesome parade of pain into your life, one sinister beast, one known only as ... RINGMASTER…."
Perhaps, in light of the words of the Gypsy Fortune-Teller, my esteemed fellow commenter Master Kolm would like to amend his statement that we are now in a second 50's with no 60's in sight--perhaps we are, rather, sitting upon the cusp of a dark 60's, a 60's of horror, pain, and anguish…. Such have been my thoughts many a midnight when I wandered the garishly lit Williamsburg sidewalks, feeling the electronic currency drift by me on the wings of wifi as I sipped my craft beer, ironically hidden in a plain brown paper bag, and thought I heard, accompanied by the carnivalesque music of the taco truck, the approaching footsteps of one who leads a gruesome parade of pain into our lives….
Anyhow, that seemed pertinent to me when I was reading this review, I don't know. At the very least, I hope you'll check out the Insane Clown Posse, particularly their early stuff from before everyone got on board. It has what may be the single most boss tarot reading from any hip-hop album of the mid-nineties.
Nice little review.
Wonderfully well written review, and I have to agree with Mr. Lindgren about the current status of women in this culture; it's right back to where it was pre-women's' movement.
The patina of success that some women seem to have achieved in some segments of this flat-lined culture obfuscate the reality we are all drowning in: This is the 1950s with no 1960s on the horizon -- good luck to us all!
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a great list, even stumbling across the article several years later it still gives some great choices of books to read. I'll check you're blog for further updates!!
Many thanks, Dave R - www.jdandj.com
Gangs of Brooklyn from old times, look up your neighborhood
A fine review; I'm grateful to it for having alerted me that ND has put out this collection.
Thank god the publisher New Directions stood by Levertov over the years; they're to be commended. Smart review, Mr. Lindgren, and I, for one, am grateful you quoted several lines of her poetry in it; we get a chance to judge some of her words by our own lights...
Lindgren adroitly captures the tone and complexity of Levertov's poetry at the various stages of her life. His well chosen, quoted passages highlight her power with language and images. A well-written piece that motivates me to read Levertov--peer of Stevens and Bishop!
Here's some to add to "You Might Have Missed", for the entire decade:
Books by Canadian and Australian authors (aside from the obligatory nod to authors like Atwood and Munro). American-centered lists like this should simply call it what it is: American books of the decade, with a few British and books-in-translation thrown in to make the list look international. I mean, Lunar Park, by Bret Easton Ellis? Against the Day, by Thomas Pynchon? A Gate at the Stairs, by Lorrie Moore? Are these names here because, well, they're authors who've had successes and therefor get put in because they're recognizable names?
There's nothing wrong with lists, but please call a spade a spade.
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I just finished the whole book in one sitting. I LOVED it! I was laughing so hard I cried through much of it. I have to disagree with this post about the dog sections, though. Those were my favorite... Mostly because I could really relate to them. But I could relate to a lot of what she wrote about, so I highly recommend this book to everyone.
Allie's absurdly simple and quirky stick figure characters brilliantly portray the absurdity of depression itself. Allie's description of depression's grip as a child playing with her favorite toys who suddenly finds it all hollow and pointless, strikes a painful cord in me as I recall my own childhood depression and now observe that same depression in my child. Thank you, Allie, for cutting through the stigma and making mental illness more understandable and all the more human.
I own this book and I really love it! I can so relate! It is such a refreshing read and I love to reread it. Everybody should read it! It is so funny the way she make fun of life.
Spare is a terrible way to describe his prose, I think it's the polar opposite of spare, all meat, no bone....
...a great American story teller.
/The Road/ is "spare, action-describing prose sometimes interrupted with dialogue"? Really? From the NYTimes review: On the Interstate “long lines of charred and rusting cars” are “sitting in a stiff gray sludge of melted rubber. ... The incinerate corpses shrunk to the size of a child and propped on the bare springs of the seats. Ten thousand dreams ensepulchred within their crozzled hearts.” Just sayin'.
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