I love what John Irving does. He weaves a very complicated web, and by the end of the book, there's not a stray strand. Everything fits together beautI love what John Irving does. He weaves a very complicated web, and by the end of the book, there's not a stray strand. Everything fits together beautifully. This book made me envious....more
I can't say enough about this book. It is still my favorite book on Greek or Roman mythology, even though I first read it in third grade. If you loveI can't say enough about this book. It is still my favorite book on Greek or Roman mythology, even though I first read it in third grade. If you love mythology, find a copy of this book....more
*Updated, now with an additional McCarthyized section of the Bible, moved up from the comment section.*
Here's what I'm thinkin.
THE CORMAC MCCARTHY PRO*Updated, now with an additional McCarthyized section of the Bible, moved up from the comment section.*
Here's what I'm thinkin.
THE CORMAC MCCARTHY PROJECT
Ever since reading Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, I've been considering the possibilities of revisiting the classics and, um, reinterpreting them. Butchering? Yes, you're probably right. Butchering them. That's the right word.
Anyway, since Cormac McCarthy has the most distinctive and powerful voice of any modern writer (that I've read recently)(in my opinion), I pose the question: what if Cormac McCarthy were to revisit the classics of the English canon? What if McCarthy had been the author of The Great Gatsby? How would it have ended up? I think this is an important enough question to begin a new writing project, or, at the least, write a Goodreads review pretending I'm going to.
First, we have to establish these new versions of the classics will be stylized after McCarthy's Western Novels, starting with Blood Meridian and ending with Cities of the Plain. Characteristics include:
1) No punctuation other than periods and question marks. 2) No indication of who is talking during dialogue, although you can always tell. 3) Poetic descriptions of barren landscapes which often reflect the callous indifference of nature to the plights of humanity. 4) Untranslated Spanish dialogue. 5) No hint of the characters' internal dialogue; all characters are revealed only through action and conversation. 6) Gratuitous and unexpected acts of horrendous violence. 7) During casual conversation, characters frequently say incredibly profound shit.
Although there's more to his style than this, we can take this as the most bare-essential aspects of what is necessary to properly "translate" a novel into its McCarthy version.
As an example, let's take a certain scene from Pride and Prejudice. How about the one where Lady Catherine is quizzing Elisabeth about whether D'arcy has indeed proposed to her? They're alone, walking in the garden (although in the McCarthy version, they would be walking upon a windswept moor). Here we go:
Dust clung to their boots and the tall grass shuddered on the frigid wind. A raven perched upon the fallen branch of an elm and watched them with one jet eye. Lady Catherines hands grasped nervously at nothing as she looked across the moor.
Young women of unfortunate birth shouldnt attempt to reach beyond their station.
Don't pretend you don't know of what I speak.
Eliza spat and turned away. She walked into the doorway of a church. Inside dozens of bodies lay heaped upon the floor. Blood hard and dried like clay caked upon the stone of the floor. Flies traversed upon the eyelids of a child that stared blankly at Eliza who turned away.
Los Muchachos estan muerto.
Eliza brushed her hair back. All of the constrictions you place upon mans actions are nothing to the ineffable stretch of the world which knows that all is war. No system of morality is anything but pretense which the least of gods vile beasts can shatter simply through the act of killing for its survival. Morality holds no water when it stands eye to eye with stark reality.
Lady Catherine spat and wiped her mouth on her sleeve.
Its damn cold.
Wait which of us said that?
I wont promise I would never accept a proposal if I dont think its ever to be given. Nor can I swear as to what I would do in a situation that Ive never known myself to be in.
Well arent you a contrary little whore. Lady Catherine spat. Ill not forget how youve treated me this day. Her finger moved closer to the knife that hung at her hip.
And here's one of the Bible's more memorable passages, McCarthyized:
19:1 From out the dark sky over all Gods reckoning the two drifted like fallenleaves downward as Lot tipped back the widebrimmed hat, rubbing his thumb over stubble and spat on the grounddirt. Raising heavy to his feet and stretching he ambled forward dust raising an etherial plume in the nightair like ghosts of sinners dwelling on the threshold of the dark. the untamed past hovered there in the darkness by Sodom.
19:2 Come in ifn you want.
We don't mind sleepin outside.
No really I got plenty room. Cmon in.
The angels came in bare feet on the packed dirt covered with indescribable years of footprints crisscrossed into an impossible to fathom reckoning of feet stretching back through indescribable years. So many feet and such a dirty floor.
19:3 He cooked bread. They warshed up and ate.
19:4 Out the window shadows encroached from the jet locustridden expanse of Sodom. Figures in stillness, nooses dangling from withered hands and that dust rising like the dead pounding from the other side of eternity trying to return trying to be unforsaken from the temporal purgatory the men dwelt in. Who them men we saw with them white robes.
19:5 Gone home, Jenkins, he said.
Not til we know who them fugitives is you harborin. They aint niggers is they.
Didn't you see they white robes. They aint no niggers.
Lot walked out the house into that humidity the wind like the word of God drifting with threats of retribution and reckoning. Tell you what, men, you better get back on home and mind ya damn business. This aint no affair of yourn.
The Willis boy had a strapon fixed to his forehead pointing up accusingly at the heavens an erection of defiance. He wore that collar that said Slave as always. He was danglin handcuffs from his hand like like a hypnotist without a pocketwatch. We just wanna see um. We just wanna meet um. Maybe have a little fun with um.
19:7 Lot spat a wad of nasal discharge loudly upon the earth and glanced back at the house. Tell you what boys. I invited them men into my house and I wont have them mistreated but I got them two good fer nothin daughters. You leave my visitors alone Ill bring them on out.
19:8 Willis nodded, that plastic tusk swaying in the nightair. What fer.
Whatever yall find fittin. It aint fer me to say. Just leave my visitors alone.
Okay, apparently it's not easy to write in Cormac McCarthy's style without sucking. I suppose the only way THE CORMAC MCCARTHY PROJECT can be effectively carried out is if McCarthy himself were to actually write these translations. So, if anyone runs into Cormac, let him know about this project, and how important it is for him to get to work right away. After all, there are lots of classics. I believe he lives in New Mexico. So, if you're wandering through a dark, dank cave and hear the sounds of typewriter keys pounding away, you've probably found his lair. Approach slowly, and don't make eye contact.
I suppose, while I'm at it, I could say something about Blood Meridian. FUCKING AMAZING! I hate giving five star ratings, probably because I'm so curmudgeonly. But, for the third time, McCarthy is making me give him one. I just can't find anything to fault here, and the story is different from any I've ever read before. The writing is amazing, the characters are good (although the Judge fits a certain fiction stereotype, he's a very memorable version of it), and I was startled by the horror of it all . . . until I became numb to it. Which was the intention, or I think it was at any rate.
This is the horrifying story of a group who are being paid to hunt down injuns and scalp them. Over time, the bloodlust of the group grows and they begin scalping those they're intended to be saving, and basically everyone they come across. When it comes time to be paid for the scalps, the scalps all look the same anyway. Sothey make tons of money from the indiscriminant slaughter of soldiers, villagers, travelers and everyone else. And, from there, things get uglier.
This is all based on historical events, or so I've heard. I haven't researched it enough to know how closely. But, this is a very dark vision of the "wild west," and the blood that was spilled while the land was still wild. If you have the stomach for it, this is an amazing book. ...more
Let me start with this: I love dystopias. Some people are fascinated by zombies, some love post-apocalyptic novels, some like undead porn. I've alwaysLet me start with this: I love dystopias. Some people are fascinated by zombies, some love post-apocalyptic novels, some like undead porn. I've always loved dark visions of how the world could end up. In fact, one of my college essays was an elaborate discussion of how older dystopias (We, 1984, and Brave New World) got it wrong (and right).
This was the scariest dystopia I've ever read.
Part of the reason might be that I'm older now than I was when reading these other books. Maybe it's that I'm more politically aware, and see more connections between the zealotry in this book and events of recent years. Maybe...well, maybe this is just really scary shit. All Atwood had to do was mention the possibility of nuclear power plants leaking because of unexpected earthquakes and I was thinking, "Why not?" All she had to do was mention women being treated as second class citizens to get me thinking, "Been there, still doing that." And with a convenient re-reading of The Bible underlying all these horrible social changes, I could imagine the majority of people buying whatever the priests are selling.
So, yes: scary, scary, scary, scary shit.
Offred is a surrogate womb for the wife of a wealthy man. If she manages to concieve with him, during this time period when healthy babies are rare (most of the babies are called unbabies or Shredders, although I don't think it's explained what exactly a shredder is), Offred will avoid being declared an Unwoman and being sent to a concentration camp. Of course, the guy who she's required to fuck is an old man who is probably impotent since the previous handmaids have given him no children.
The Handmaid's Tale tells Offred's story: the various humiliations she undergoes, her suffering, her small triumphs of freedom and fighting the system. One thing I love about this book is Offred, a strong character who struggles with the system in believable ways. That is, her thoughts simulateously rebel against the society's restrictions and in some ways give in to them. Many of her rebellions are only inside of her head. The society is so restrictive that even these internal rebellions seem like triumphs.
I almost cried twice. I didn't, of course, because I am man, and man don't cry. With this book, I had to put it down a couple times and give myself a minute because it was so overwhelming.
As with most books I give five stars, I find that my review is sucking dog cock. Why is it so hard to write a good review of a really good book? Is it because nothing you write is really going to do it justice? Is it because it's almost impossible to be sarcastic and witty when saying nice things? Whatever the reason, I want to make you read this book. GO! READ IT! THIS THE REAL SHIT! ...more
You MUST read this series. You MUST read this book. That's all I'm gonna say. I'm not gonna say any more.
But I will say this: I have an effing signedYou MUST read this series. You MUST read this book. That's all I'm gonna say. I'm not gonna say any more.
But I will say this: I have an effing signed copy of this effing book. And I actually stood before the great effing GRRM as he signed it! "Michael, Keep your sword sharp." That's what it says. (I stuttered out something mostly incoherent about loving his books, and he kindly pretended that what I'd said had involved actual English words.)
And coming up in May, I'll be seeing him at LepreCon in Tempe, AZ, so I'm going to get a copy of A Clash of Kings signed as well. I'll need to buy a new copy since mine is falling apart after 11 or 12 years of use. Maybe this time I'll say something that makes me sound like less of a dork. ...more
How does one review a book so unusual? Michael wondered.
This raw food diet still had everything inside churning like the clothes as they spun around tHow does one review a book so unusual? Michael wondered.
This raw food diet still had everything inside churning like the clothes as they spun around the driers. The clinks as buttons slid along the metallic sides, the rasp of the air conditioner that was never turned off because it didn't work at all anyway, the light coming through the pain of the laundry room's one small window, as Michael looked out upon the shimmering light that hit the water of the swimming pool, always clean, always ready for someone to dive in, despite the mid-December chill in the air, despite the fact that not a toe would touch that water for months.
Michael scratched his nose with his right index finger. He didn't know how to review Mrs. Dalloway.
But isn't that always the challenge with good books? With those books that open their eyes and meet yours head on; where an exchange is made; those books that take something from you, and give you something else in its place, your spleen now in the book, a glowing white light in its place. What does that even mean, he wondered? Can one give back to a book? Or does one only take? Does one only "give back" by paying the author for the text? What a cold process that seems. But, what can someone give to a book that has been around for nearly a century--the author's cells now broken apart from one another and spread about, either throughout the dirt around the space where her coffin once was, or still locked away inside (and let it be known, Michael thought once again, that I never want to be put inside of a coffin; I'd rather be experimented upon, or used by Von Hagens in one of his exhibits)--what can one contribute to a work that has been declared Permanent, a diamond that will not age as time passes, like The Illiad,, like Othello, The Portrait of a Lady, or Confessions of an Heiress?
Perhaps if I hadn't eaten so much crappy food before switching my diet, I wouldn't be rushing out of the laundromat every half an hour to take a dump, Michael thought.
After finishing laundry, he decided he would take the light rail to campus and finally buy his school books. He didn't know why, but the trip on the light rail from home to campus was something he still looked forward to, even after taking it dozens of times: there was nothing he could put his finger on regarding the experience that was noteworthy, yet he smiled as he thought about the trip. Was it the mythical stature he'd given to education that made this trip enjoyable? The pilgrimage to a place of learning, the journey towards knowing? But, he'd come to terms with the fact that none knew, truly; all viewed the world through their own terministic screens (he enjoyed working terms he'd learned from grad school into his thoughts, though he'd feel like a jackass to drop them into conversation). Everyone had a socially conceived network of abstract notions through which every flower, airplane, stray dog had to be filtered before it registered in the mind. We place forms upon everything, when there is truly no division.
He went next door to the gym, because he couldn't hold it any longer. Again, there was nobody working out, although the television that hung from the ceiling was playing some soap opera, the six fans that swayed dangerously as they whirled above the workout equipment.
How much power is wasted every day to keep a city humming incessantly? Could we not leave the television off, the fans off, the lights off, until someone came in to actually use the facilities? Couldn't the air conditioner be turned off during the winter, or taken out, since it does fuckall anyway? (Joy often laughed at him when he used British words, like fuckall and rubbish.)
Like many times in the past, he wished he could live somewhere that stars were clearly visible. He remembered driving through the expanses of New Mexico, the lights from the cars the only things breaking the darkness, hindering the starlight. Perhaps, instead of going with Joy out to the casino this weekend, they would drive far out of the city and do some star gazing. The starry sky, like chasing fireflies in the summer, was something from a collective childhood he tapped into occasionally during reveries; he was born in a big city, and moved to another, yet pined for both fireflies and starry skies. But he couldn't stand the thought of living outside the city--there was fuckall to do out there.
After finishing his movement, and washing his hands for forty five seconds, he left the gym and walked past the swimming pool. One of the neighborhood's many stray cats slunk along the beige fence like a secret agent, half-hidden by the flowering bushes. The sky was Arizona cloudy, which is called Mostly Sunny anywhere else; a sweep of clouds covered half the sky, while the rest was entirely blue. It was a beautiful day, December 29th of 2010.
He went back into the dim, florescent light of the laundry room. Opening the thick book he'd brought with him, he thought again about all the reviews he still needed to catch up on. And he still didn't know how to review Mrs. Dalloway. And he was totally at a loss about how to review Orlando, but he put that out of his mind as he gazed down into A People's History of the United States. His eyes met Howard Zinn's, and he resisted the urge to look away....more
This is the first "soft SF" book I've read, and perhaps the softer side is what I prefer. One of my chief complaints about "hard" science fiction is tThis is the first "soft SF" book I've read, and perhaps the softer side is what I prefer. One of my chief complaints about "hard" science fiction is the lack of character development, and the intense focus on . . . well. . . the science of it. Frankly, I've always been more interested in characters. This book is about characters.
The story follows an ambassador to the planet Winter. The ambassador is human, but the people of Winter are androgynous- they are neither male nor female until Kemmer, a few days each month, wherein they become briefly either male or female. Only during this time do the people of Winter have sex, and the rest of the time, they're devoid of the urge.
Our main character, Ai, is a man's man. He often refers to things as "womanly" and struggles with coming to terms with the sexlessness of those around him. His mind is continually trying to classify those he meets as one sex or the other, and so do I as a reader. The way people act towards other people is, in so many ways, determined by one's own sex and the sex of the other. As Ai says at one point, the biggest determiner of our course in life is whether we're born a man or a woman. (This isn't a real quote, but the idea is essentially the same as Ai's statement. As usual, I'm too lazy to give you a direct quotation.)
I don't want to ruin the storyline, but I will say that the politics on Winter are very reminiscent of Earthly politics, even though the concept of war doesn't exist. Apparently the people of Winter don't have the necessary testosterone to get into wars. Assassinations, political betrayals, and other unsavory things happen in abundance, though.
(SPOILER ALERT: Mild spoils ahead) This book is definitely worth multiple reads. It wrestles with Big Ideas like duality (between man & woman, man & nature) and sexuality. Ai has some moments of sexual tension with "women," but the fact that they could just as easily have become men hovers over these experiences, and the book ends without him getting any poontang. Perhaps a modern book would've wrestled even more with the sexual ambiguity Ai faced in his time on the planet. But, this was written in the sixties, during the time when Le Guin was still writing as "an honorary man, and not as a woman" (almost a direct quote), so she probably didn't want to delve too deep into an aspect of the book that might become too weird for many of her readers.
Anyway, I loved this book, and I expect I'll be reading a lot more of Le Guin's work in the future. A lot of science fiction revels in the foreign-ness of other planets and other life forms; in The Left Hand of Darkness, Le Guin revels in the same-ness of this other planets experience of living. I recommend this book very highly. ...more
Horror fiction is as difficult to define as any literary genre, but it often follows the same structural pattern: things start off normal (at least in Horror fiction is as difficult to define as any literary genre, but it often follows the same structural pattern: things start off normal (at least in the context of the story), then slowly horrific or otherworldly elements begin to creep into the story. These elements continue growing, continue taking more and more control of the characters' lives, and become more of a driving force behind the characters' actions. Finally, the climax arrives, wherein we discover whether the characters will succumb to this horror or whether they will somehow triumph/escape from it.
This is a theme that runs through just about every horror film ("Drag Me to Hell," "Hellraiser," and "From Hell" as three examples with one word in common), and also much of the best horror literature ("The Tell-Tale Heart," "The Yellow Wallpaper," "Frankenstein," "Where are You Going, Where Have You Been?" most of Stephen King's canon, and, in an inverted manner, "Blood Meridian"). Plenty of exceptions don't follow this structure, but it's very common in what is accepted as horror literature. And, an actual outside force can be the horrific element, like in Stephen King's "It," or the horrific could be the descent into madness, like in "The Yellow Wallpaper."
Now that I'm done waxing eloquent on horror fiction, I'm going to tell you about a lovely, frightening ghost story called "Beloved."
Sethe lives with her daughter Denver, and with the ghost of a baby that died before she'd even given it a name. Sethe posthumously named the baby Beloved, from the one word carved into the baby's headstone.
Paul, a man who was a slave on the same plantation as Sethe a decade ago, shows up one day and begins living with the two--well, three--of them. The ghost of Beloved interferes when Paul and Sethe are getting it on in the kitchen, and this causes Paul to go into a rage that chases the ghost of Beloved away. For a very brief period of time, it looks like everything will be okay.
Then, on the way home from a carnival, the three come across a pretty woman, immaculately dressed, who is sitting by the river. The woman doesn't seem to know where she is, and is starving. So, they take her back home with them. It doesn't take long for Denver to realize the woman is Beloved, the ghost of the baby having somehow found itself a new body. But for Sethe and Paul, this realization is much more gradual.
As the story goes on, we learn more about the past: the plantation Sethe came from, the lives they lived before finding their way to freedom, and the death of Beloved. As the story goes on, we begin to realize that both the past and the present are more disturbing and venomous than they seemed at first. In order to keep this review relatively spoiler-free, I'm not going to say much more about the story.
I will say, though, that "Beloved" follows the horror format that I discussed earlier. The horror that underlies the whole story is a combination: first, the supernatural element of Beloved's ghost. But, more frightening than the ghost itself is the growing sense that Beloved is simply the past haunting the characters and driving them crazy, while also driving them away from each other. The third part of the combination is the horror that was catalyst to both these other horrors: slavery. Slavery is the underlying horror, the first domino, the reason for impending madness and for angry ghosts.
"She cut my head off every night. Buglar and Howard told me she would and she did. Her pretty eyes looking at me like I was a stranger. Not mean or anything, but like I was somebody she found and felt sorry for. Like she didn't want to do it but she had to and it wasn't going to hurt. That it was just a thing grown-up people do--like pull a splinter out your hand; touch the corner of a towel in your eye if you get a cinder in it. She looks over at Buglar and Howard--see if they all right. Then she comes over to my side. I know she'll be good at it, careful. That when she cuts it off it'll be done right; it won't hurt. After she does it I lie there for a minute with just my head. Then she carries it downstairs to braid my hair. I try not to cry but it hurts so much to comb it. When she finishes the combing and starts the braiding, I get sleepy. I want to go to sleep but I know if I do I won't wake up."
Sometimes within paragraphs, the time shifts. We go back to Sweet Home, the plantation where Paul and Sethe met; we shift to Sethe's escape from slavery. These shifts help to create the sense that the past can't be separated from what is now occurring. The past is almost a prison, claustrophobically surrounding the present and giving the sense that Sethe is almost forced into her actions by the horrors of her personal past, and the horrors of slavery.
I feel like, instead of reviewing the book as I usually do, I've been brainstorming for a report. That wasn't my intention, so I'll actually say some evaluative stuff now. This book is every bit as good as it's supposed to be. The writing is poetic and haunting, the characters all fully fleshed out, and plenty of the imagery is unforgettable.
This is considered by some people with even more sway in the literary world than myself to be one of the great books of the 20th century. From the limited pool of books I've read, I'd have to agree with this assessment. This is one you should read.
Which leads me to my final digression: why do so many of the covers for this book make it look like chick lit? On Goodreads, I picked a cover that works with the subject matter, but the actual copy I own makes me think of doilies and fancy china, not ghosts, anger and madness. ...more
I loved Perdido Street Station and was excited to read the second book in the world of Bas-Lag. Mieville didn't let me down. I can't honestly say whicI loved Perdido Street Station and was excited to read the second book in the world of Bas-Lag. Mieville didn't let me down. I can't honestly say which of the two books I prefer: they are drastically different from one another, and if one couldn't conveniently think of them both as "fantasy" novels, it would be hard to place them in the same genre.
I don't want to spoil anything about the story, but I will say that The Scar reminded me in some ways of Moby Dick. Only in good ways. There weren't any tedious descriptions of whales, or hundreds of pages of needless extrapolation.
I find it interesting that in The Scar, I found many of the secondary characters very compelling, yet didn't find the protagonist very interesting or easy to sympathize with. In fact, the protagonist is the only aspect of this book that I didn't like. (I also wanted a clearer description of a few beasts, but I understand Mieville's motivation in keeping these monsters mysterious.)
My final analysis: you should read both Perdido Street Station and The Scar. These are both clear examples of how good fantasy can be. ...more
I already knew fossil fuel companies were slimy and money-hungry, avoiding environmental regulations whenever posThis book is WOW. This book is yuck.
I already knew fossil fuel companies were slimy and money-hungry, avoiding environmental regulations whenever possible. I knew that the U.S. makes a habit of exporting our dirtiest businesses, and our trash (literally), to poor countries without the political sway to complain about it. I knew that the inhabitants of many small, low-lying islands, who have been faced with the dire consequences of global warming already, have been among the most vocal to speak out about the need for policy change.
Here's what I did not realize.
I did not realize that, even now, oil companies like Shell literally fund and militarize tyrannical governments that won't hold them accountable for harm to the environment or the people of their country. I did not realize it was so common for them to do this, and then say they had no political sway when the government started literally killing those who start speaking out against the behavior of oil companies.
I did not realize oil companies have been excited about the new possibilities opened up by global warming, as the arctic continues to melt and make it more practical to start drilling up there. I did not realize the U.S. government was excited to help them expedite this process, by clearing away all the pesky red tape that would keep them from doing so.
I did not realize that it is a cold, hard fact that companies like Chevron spend more money advertising how much they care about alternative fuel sources than they actually spend on developing alternative fuels. Although this isn't too hard to imagine.
I did not realize that, at the same time Barack Obama was gently slapping the hand of B.P. after the Deepwater Horizon disaster, he was making sure there was a maximum cap for the cost oil companies would have to pay in the event of a oil disasters in Indian waters, no matter how tremendous the disaster is. The maximum cap? 0.5% of what we expected B.P. to pay when a disaster happened in the U.S.
I did not realize that we only hear about the oil spills that we are expected to be interested in. For instance, we haven't heard much at all about the Exxon disaster's-worth of oil that has been spilled in Nigeria EVERY YEAR, for more than the last thirty years.I would have thought this was newsworthy.
I did not know that, when the Deepwater Horizon disaster happened, B.P. was relying on clean-up methods that were more than forty years old and had been developed for fresh water, because they had never invested in developing clean-up methods since then, or for different ecosystems. I didn't realize that, while B.P. was so clueless about actually cleaning it up, they sent planes out at night to douse the most heavily polluted parts of the water in a chemical that would cause the oil to clump and sink, doing possibly more environmental damage, but making it much harder to determine how large the disaster was.
I really, really wish I didn't have to take this book back to the library tomorrow, so I could write a full review with sources, ala Bird Brian. Instead, You just get to see me in this state of shock as I try to make sense of all this. If you can find a copy of this, I definitely recommend it. ...more
Best friggin' Golden Book EVAH. If you haven't read it, put down the bollocks you're reading right now and go get it. It's Grover, bitch! I rest my caBest friggin' Golden Book EVAH. If you haven't read it, put down the bollocks you're reading right now and go get it. It's Grover, bitch! I rest my case. ...more
If I were stuck on a desert island and could only take one book, this would be the one. Merwin is my favorite poet, and this is a very good collectionIf I were stuck on a desert island and could only take one book, this would be the one. Merwin is my favorite poet, and this is a very good collection of work from throughout his entire career....more