The problem with writing woman-centered, feminist, or matriarchal texts is that we don’t actually have a lot of good examples to pull from. Our art and archetypes have been filtered through millennia of misogyny, so that all the storylines, tropes, topoi, cliches, and everything else that goes into making a novel have a base setting […]Read more "“Ahe’ey” by Jamie Le Fay"
Two brothers fall in love with the same woman. Instead of settling it sensibly, or at least by dueling, one of them climbs up an enormous ladder they’ve been constructing, and refuses to come down for years. And rather than just letting the ladder fall, the other props it up till he dies and is […]Read more "“Froelich’s Ladder” by Jamie Duclos-Yourdon"
Although serial killers are not normally my thing, I’ve been reading these illustrated novels based on the lives of the victims of Jack the Ripper with interest. Rather than focus on the pathologies of Jack the Ripper’s mind, and the goriness of his methods, this books put the spotlight on how his victims lived, and […]Read more "“Apologies to the Cat’s Meat Man” by Alan M. Clark"
His father disgraced and impoverished, Felix the Fox uses his cunning and magical training to ferret out secrets for paying customers. When he’s called upon to investigate the mysterious death of a young man from a patrician family, Felix finds himself in the midst of a black magic cabal with sinister intentions. “Murder in Absentia” […]Read more "“Murder in Absentia” by Assaph Mehr"
Iceland is one of those romantic destinations that you hear a lot about, but how often do you actually get to experience Icelandic culture? For all its popularity as a tourist spot, there’s very little Icelandic literature available to the average reader; so little, in fact, that I went into this collection, my first foray […]Read more "“Out of the Blue: New Short Fiction from Iceland”"
As with “War and Peace,” I feel a bit silly writing a review of such a classic work of literature and scholarship, but since I read it, by golly, I’m going to get a review out of it. Berlin begins by arguing that there are two general classes of thinkers and artists: foxes (e.g., Pushkin, […]Read more "“The Hedgehog and the Fox” by Isaiah Berlin"
“Badlands” is a peculiar novel, although it’s only a novel in a very loose definition of the word. But it is stunning nonetheless. An Englishwoman travels to South Dakota with her American boyfriend Adam, who has agreed to represent Henry Blackfoot, a Sioux man who’s initiated a lawsuit against a local white farmer whose land, […]Read more "“Badlands: New Photo Edition” by Melinda Camber Porter"
In “A Small Corner of Hell,” Anna Politkovskaya continues her reportage of the Second Chechen War. While “A Dirty War,” the first collection of her articles, conveys them in more or less their original form, “A Small Corner of Hell,” while still divided into individual reports, is a more coherent, book-like narrative, with large sections […]Read more "“A Small Corner of Hell” by Anna Politkovskaya"
Zakhar Prilepin represents much of what is confusing and contradictory about contemporary Russia. And on the other hand, it’s all absolutely simple. He’s a pro-Stalinist member of the anti-Putin opposition, a writer who exposes the dark side of modern Russian life while volunteering in the army of the pro-Russian Donetsk People’s Republic. Western readers […]Read more "“Sin” by Zakhar Prilepin"
Anyone tempted to say that heroes no longer exist need look no further than opposition Russian journalists to be proven wrong. Although there are many heroes and martyrs amongst that group, the name Anna Politkovskaya is particularly sacred. A furious truth-teller, Politkovskay always had the courage of her convictions, descending into chaos, corruption, and the […]Read more "“A Dirty War” by Anna Politkovskaya"