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Sep13

“Jewish Nose” as plot device?

I refer here to a primary plot device in Nathan Englander’s The Ministry of Special Cases, a novel about the terror of the Argentine military dictatorship, 1976-83, as its minions roam the neighborhoods to gather up and “disappear” the...
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Sep03

ONE MORE THRILLER . . . as the summer draws to a close

Istanbul Passage, by Joseph Kanon.  I like this guy’s work, though as with all mysteries for me, the plots fade.  I especially loved Kanon’s Los Alamos,  of which I remember only the hothouse atmosphere around  the scientists and their wives,...
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Aug30

CHILE AS ALLENDE FALLS

Plus Cuba, Mexico, Bolivia and East Berlin.  How often do you find a novel that rolls through all these geographic locations? “The Neruda Case,” by Roberto Ampuero is a thriller of sorts by an established Chilean novelist. This is the first...
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Aug30

Add “Campaign” to Stewart, Colbert, Kamau Bell…

GOOD MOVIE FOR THIS POLITICAL SEASON Have you ever seen a movie meant to entertain, and then, to your surprise, the politics turn out to be radical indeed?  V is for Vendetta, was like that for me, and now, years later, the Guy Fawkes masks are a prominent...
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Aug06

Cartoons as Literature?

Well, yes, even if, like me, you are NOT a fan of Captain Marvel.  Try out Alison Bechdel’s Are You My Mother?   Bechdel manages to do all of the following with
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Jul30

Left-Wing Literature Alert

The Outer Fringe Are you are a bit obsessed with the left political movement of the sixties and seventies, as I am?  If so, American Woman, by Susan Choi, is the novel for you!  Remember the Symbionese Liberation Army?  The murder of Marcus Foster,...
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Jul30

A Movie About Climate Change

BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD … is one of the weirdest movies I have ever seen!  A remnant of Louisiana culture resists mandatory evacuation from the part of the state that is sinking back into the sea.  Our six-year old heroine, Hush Puppy, understands...
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Jul19

Message from the Edge

Daily Life in the Third Reich Hans Fallada, in Every Man Dies Alone, takes us into the moment-to-moment reality of life in Berlin, 1942, when Hitler is claiming victory in France, but bombs are starting to fall in the city.  This is not a book about...
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Jul11

A Tale of Two Thrillers, or What to Read on Vacation

Vacations are for mysteries, at least in my life, so recently I have read two thrillers: “The Expats,” by Chris Pavone, and “Mission Song,” by John Le Carre. It’s not easy to compare favorably to Le Carre, who is a master...
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Jun27

Literary Fiction

I read a lot of it these days!  Never boring, though sometimes I stop before I’m through with a book if I don’t like it.  I have learned that lightening does not strike you dead if you do that… Now I am reading American Woman, by Susan...
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