oh Mother, oh Father! I totally get you now, thanks to My Mortal Enemy. such a short little piece but such a powerful punch. I'd give this 5 stars foroh Mother, oh Father! I totally get you now, thanks to My Mortal Enemy. such a short little piece but such a powerful punch. I'd give this 5 stars for personal impact, but the impact was so painful and intense, I could never consider this a favorite.
once upon a time, Myra and Oswald eloped. they were, and are, the love of each other's life. such are the things of happily ever afters! but such is not reality; it is certainly not the reality I've experienced.
their lives are witnessed by a niece - initially impressionable, later a grown woman full of empathy and a desire to see life as it actually is - or as it could be, as it should be, if things could be perfect and people could be flawless. Cather does a superb job in characterizing this woman at two points in her life, and an equally excellent job at revealing all the different sides of both Myra and Oswald - how they appear to others, how they appear to each other, how they understand and misunderstand themselves. Cather's characterization is rich and deeply felt and real; it should also go without saying, given the author, that the prose itself is sublime. the ending is stark, sad, and beautiful.
can a vibrant, kindly, idiosyncratic, independent woman also be a cold-hearted, viciously critical bitch? can a sensitive, brave, strong, loving man also be a thoughtlessly straying rake who carelessly seeks comfort elsewhere? can all the disappointments in life that often have nothing to do with a shared love somehow accumulate enough so that those disappointments tarnish that love - make that love something strained, something that tastes both sweet and bitter? yes, yes and yes. I've seen it; I've experienced it firsthand. maybe I've had a block to understanding this, to understanding how my parents have acted, how I have acted, how people can be so full of love for each other yet also be the cause of so much needless pain. maybe it is something I've refused to understand because the understanding - the demystification - is too painful, so painful it becomes something to ignore and avoid. the wonderful painful thing about top tier literary fiction is that it forces the reader to look inside themselves as well - and to look at people through a different lens, one that is otherwise kept in a drawer somewhere, buried and unacknowledged. thanks, Willa Cather and My Mortal Enemy, for forcing me to look through that lens. for forcing me to understand my own parents and how their lives together have created something both glorious and completely awful. for forcing me to recognize how their lives have impacted what I have done in my own life - or what I have chosen not to do.
so yeah, thanks are definitely in order... but for some reason I am not feeling a whole lot of gratitude.
Sturm und Drang! ancient god-aliens coming back to earth to raise the people up! it's a revolution, against the Mexican government and the terrible moSturm und Drang! ancient god-aliens coming back to earth to raise the people up! it's a revolution, against the Mexican government and the terrible monster-god-aliens who come from the Evil Stars! the Aztecs rise again to commit bloody atrocities! hearts are pulled from chests! battles with lightning and thunder and rain! two mountains shall rise! original gangsters Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca and Huitzilopochitli battle it out with the kindly giants The Great Old Ones over the weaponized heart of the rain god Tlaloc! yeah baby yeah!
oh I wish. all of the above is in the narrative, sure, but one could barely tell from the offhand, minimal descriptions. it is like Davidson is actually shy about recounting anything genuinely exciting let alone pulpy and over the top. this should have been a thrill ride and instead it is just waiting in line and then being told that that was the ride. I couldn't believe the amount of time he spent with three tedious Americans abroad who are barely even a part of the story. even worse is the amount of time spent hearing one the Americans talk in baby-talk about a cat and whine endlessly about having to do the dishes. why, Avram, whyyyyy? you had such a grand story here. but such piddly execution.
still, this isn't a one star book because I do appreciate Davidson's gentle, culturally sensitive hand when depicting village life and in particular the various pre-Aztec races. he also seems to despise the revoltingly bloodthirsty Aztecs, which is fine with me....more
a fun, brief shaggy dog story with a pretty famous last line. moral of the tale: don'tgreat collection.
3 stars for "The Statement of Randolph Carter"
a fun, brief shaggy dog story with a pretty famous last line. moral of the tale: don't go looking for kicks inside of tombs. duh!
3 stars for "The Shunned House"
Lovecraft at his most Lovecraft. displays his strengths and weaknesses equally. a whole lot of tell and not a lot of show... but the "history" recounted in the story was really absorbing to me. I love History as Horror. a whole lot of florid prose and hysterical emotions... annoying to some, I suppose, but I love it. this story can be boiled down as such: the sadly brief adventure of two gents trying to figure out what exactly is up with a terrible house in Providence. two-thirds of the story recounts the creepy story of this house and its various doomed inhabitants and the last third is about those two curious fellows spending too long in a particularly bad room of that house. what they discover is surprisingly weird and not what I expected.
4 stars for "Dreams in the Witch-House"
this is the real find of the book as it doesn't often make its way into Lovecraft collections. young Walter Gilman is a student at Miskatonic University and a resident of one of Arkham's apparently common haunted houses. he encounters a dead witch, her rat-like familiar Brown Jenkins, and the "black man" also known as Nyarlathotep (my personal favorite of the Cthulhu bunch). many psychedelic dreams ensue in which Walter travels across multiple dimensions and sees bizarre things while slowly realizing he is being entrapped in a plan to sacrifice an infant and then be whisked away on a one-way trip to the throne of Azathoth. those dreams were fascinating and included all sorts of details that were both vividly odd and surprisingly precise. I was fascinated by the image of the witch and her familiar's dream-shapes: "a rather large congeries of iridescent, prolately spheroidal bubbles and a very much smaller polyhedron of unknown colors and rapidly shifting surface angles". the whole story has the feeling of a hysterical, escalating fever dream. I love those sorts of dreams!
5 stars for "At the Mountains of Madness"
classic novella about an ill-fated expedition into an alien city on the Antarctica Plateau. this is the make-it-or-break-it point for Lovecraft novices. if you can't deal with the hyperventilating style and all of the history as horror, best to give up because this is Lovecraft in a nutshell.
during my re-read, I realized that my favorite thing about this novella is the parallel narrative that is submerged within the story. there's the tale recounted by the expedition leader that makes up the entirety of the narrative... but within that is the story of aliens woken by this expedition, forced to cope with an entirely new world after a millennium of sleeping, their journey back to their now desolate and abandoned homeland, and their tragic battle with the monsters that have remained there. poor aliens! I really felt for them. and I was surprised at the amount of sympathy that the often offensively xenophobic Lovecraft clearly had for them as well. I guess we all have our soft spots...
awwwwwww, just look at this adorable lil' baby Cthulhu and his sweet little button-eyes that don't even recognize you as sentient:
all he wants to do is grow up, invade our dreams, and re-take our his planet. don't judge him....more
it's the hip and happening future - brought to you by the year 1956!
it's the Vikes versus the Rees! fighting for the soul of humanity! sorta!
Vikes likit's the hip and happening future - brought to you by the year 1956!
it's the Vikes versus the Rees! fighting for the soul of humanity! sorta!
Vikes like to groove, man! they embrace the artificiality of pop culture and the sexiness of sexuality - but they don't have sex! they groove on drugs instead, they embrace their addictions. getting high is de rigueur, it's par for the course. they have a uniform: short skirts and painted bare breasts for the chicks, breeches and furry bare chests for the dicks. Vikes rule the entertainment world, in all of its forms.
Rees like it trad, man! they endorse a buttoned-down lifestyle, an abstemious veneer - but they love to fuck! they dig that crazy hypocrisy, that sexy lifestyle behind closed doors, post-marriage. they write their bad reviews and they frown their frowns. they have a uniform: gents in their shirts and ties, ladies in outfits covering them from throat to ankle. Rees have the money and they use it in all sorts of sinister ways.
the future has some crazy violent riots! the future has rape, for guys and dolls alike! the future is all kinds of bad news but it's constantly moving and grooving. dig that crazy scene, man!
Hunt Collins writes like a gum-snapping teenager, one hand on hip, the other pointing a finger right 'atcha. his prose pops; his story speeds forward. he doesn't like to take sides too much; he has equal contempt for both extremes. he sees their flaws and rolls his eyes, snorts his derision. but he has some sympathy too. he gives you some insight into both of those sides. Hunt wants a better world, for his characters and for the world itself. he's turned on by change. I like that about him....more
one of the first queer books ever published, and still one of the most edgy in its writing style and its protagonists' disinterest in being a part ofone of the first queer books ever published, and still one of the most edgy in its writing style and its protagonists' disinterest in being a part of mainstream society's rituals. the prose is super challenging and also super fun. the narrative is haphazard - a great reflection of the characters' lives.
hooray, young and evil, you go! that scene on the bus as the young & evil observe and offend the staid & outraged is brilliant. haha, stupid mainstream.
I was reminded of my own la-di-da 20s, being broke and surrounded by friends and sleeping with whoever and all the late night conversations at late night restaurants. and this was written 60 years prior to that! I guess some things never change.
and hey I just wanted to add that the other reviews for this novel (all 2 of them!) are clearly written by morons who are either just now learning to read or who prefer the comforting prose style of People magazine. yes I am the sort of reviewer who trashes other reviewers. *snap*...more
at-times absorbing chronicle by the king of cinematic queer outsiders. derek just didn't give a shit about what anyone thought! although he's not justat-times absorbing chronicle by the king of cinematic queer outsiders. derek just didn't give a shit about what anyone thought! although he's not just a rebel and a subjective chronicler of his own film work... there are many moments of awkward tenderness and surprising horniness to keep the attention from wandering too much.
here's a list of some of his films ranked from favorite to I suppose least favorite, because who doesn't like lists:
Caravaggio Sebastiane War Requiem The Last of England The Angelic Conversation Jubilee (featuring Adam Ant! and more cast surprises) The Tempest
he also gets many extra snaps for doing the set design for Ken Russell's phenomenal The Devils....more
rather pretty, rather simple. unfortunately each time i picked this up i found myself on the first train to snoozeville. i wanted to like it so much mrather pretty, rather simple. unfortunately each time i picked this up i found myself on the first train to snoozeville. i wanted to like it so much more, but perhaps norton was intimidated by the original subject material, because the novel never really came alive for me.
still, I do have to say that this was a particularly pleasant book to fall asleep to in the park. several nice naps occurred over the course of several nice days. which reminds me, San Francisco weather sure has been pleasant lately. yay, global warming?...more
25 affairs, connections, one night stands, encounters...whatever you want to call them. not to be an essentialist, but urban gay men often have a nonc25 affairs, connections, one night stands, encounters...whatever you want to call them. not to be an essentialist, but urban gay men often have a nonchalant attitude to one night stands, often devoid of moralism or guilt....and Renaud Camus takes that attitude right on up to the next level. his portraits of his various activities, and often the mornings after, are interesting introductions to how folks can connect briefly, understand each other, move on, and experience no troubling after-effects. unfortunately, despite the sweetness, it all becomes pretty monotonous after a while. or maybe i'm just getting old!...more
people in the middle of changes. like reading a collected review of assorted slow burning mid-life crises, put to the page by a dry-eyed, not-exactlypeople in the middle of changes. like reading a collected review of assorted slow burning mid-life crises, put to the page by a dry-eyed, not-exactly sympathetic observer. humans are sad! but this collection is beautiful and often surprising....more
gross. how this self-indulgent non-writer ever published so many novels is beyond me. once upon a time the queer writing industry must have been verygross. how this self-indulgent non-writer ever published so many novels is beyond me. once upon a time the queer writing industry must have been very desperate. boring, boring prose and a meaningless narrative. in this "memoir", Pelicano basically jerks off at the thought of himself and the men who apparently loved him. well I guess anything is possible....more
haunting po-mo meta-fiction. interesting and strangely romantic but, in the end, disposable and all too forgettable despite the challenging structure.haunting po-mo meta-fiction. interesting and strangely romantic but, in the end, disposable and all too forgettable despite the challenging structure. nice illustrations. who woulda thunk the jfk assassination would fuel so much bizarre literature?...more
postmodernism, meet queer fiction. surprisingly accessible. lots of sex. lots of stream-of-conscious rambling and musing. sentences melt into each othpostmodernism, meet queer fiction. surprisingly accessible. lots of sex. lots of stream-of-conscious rambling and musing. sentences melt into each other. irritatingly blank and passive protagonist - reminded me of dennis cooper, at least the dennis cooper of my imagination. surprisingly sweet and thoughtful overall. guess that must be the gay influence because po-mo is not known for being a sweet and thoughtful genre....more
twee little dessert item. some enjoyably oddball passages keep the interest, much like listening to someone go on and on during their acid trip when ytwee little dessert item. some enjoyably oddball passages keep the interest, much like listening to someone go on and on during their acid trip when you aren't on acid yourself.... irritating and occasionally hilarious. but mainly exhausting....more
it's like sitting with your favorite maiden aunt who turns out to be obsessed with sex and a charming, elderly queen with a lifetime of free-wheelingit's like sitting with your favorite maiden aunt who turns out to be obsessed with sex and a charming, elderly queen with a lifetime of free-wheeling behind him, and hearing them talk about the secret gay history of movies. i learned so much! the writing is chatty, engaging, and, well, campy. lots of great recommendations. lots of excitement over good looking guys. plus a surprisingly cogent review of Nazi filmmaker Veit Harlan's Third Sex.
movies I now want to watch:
Adventures of Captain Marvel (actually a serial) College Confidential The Gang's All Here Flamingo Road High School Confidential The Little Foxes The Magic Christian Madam Satan Myra Breckinridge Please Don't Touch Me! Sitting Pretty Springtime in the Rockies Spy Smasher (another serial) A Woman's Face
movies I've already watched and enjoyed:
Andy Warhol's Dracula Autumn Leaves Baby Face Black Lizard Cry-Baby Dragstrip Girl Fellini Satyricon Hairspray Hot Rod Gang High School Caesar JOHNNY GUITAR (one of my favorite films) Morocco The Music Lovers Querelle Rain SCARLET EMPRESS (another favorite film) Shanghai Express The Women Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown ...more