There is something intoxicating about reading a scholar who brings erudition and poetic vision to a creative analysis of desire. This book, via a discThere is something intoxicating about reading a scholar who brings erudition and poetic vision to a creative analysis of desire. This book, via a discussion of Sappho and other figures, proves a stunning, trans-textual analysis of variations on the constructions of amorous triangulation, whether that which is seen between three people entangled, viewers and lovers, or those triangulations created by either physical distance or prose via correspondence. It is an essay/adventure, which is deliriously interesting, broken into parts that are themselves--as missives of the lost and struck-- breaking into parts, utilizing a ripe unattainable apple as an example, among other things, to elucidate the finer points of passion for the out of reach--and the stunning ironies of erotic remove. Excellent. A working vehicle of transport and contemplation for those consumed by the psychology of loss and desire, both the bitter and the sweet parts of existing as a player in a romantic capacity. ...more
This is one of the most beautiful pieces of experimental literature I've ever read--about grieving a sibling's loss, but also, just as compellingly, aThis is one of the most beautiful pieces of experimental literature I've ever read--about grieving a sibling's loss, but also, just as compellingly, about never having really known enough about another before they go. There are no cut pages here, just a book object in a box like one that holds a gift--and the fusion of definitions and scrapbook/letter representations, photographs, and poetic text creates a sensation of awe and wonder. I don't want to give this book back to the library. I will have to go buy one before its due date. It is that special and beautiful to read....more
I love to read books that are hundreds of years old--and found this primer in the art of courtly love completely charming in social contexts of the auI love to read books that are hundreds of years old--and found this primer in the art of courtly love completely charming in social contexts of the author's day and the mixed antiquity and continuously applicable essentials of the ideas. That said, being that Capellanus was a chaplain, the last passage is clearly meant to confuse and put off his detractors. To baffle or dance around what the main text does. I like to read the volume as one man who desires to examine lascivious interaction via the raised platform of instruction, even going so far as to discuss a number of scenarios about what possibilities there may be (or have been) between different classes of lovers-- and then, at the tail end, putting his robes back on for a final summation that tongue in cheek realigns himself with those for whom he must appear to suit his station. Mixed message books always entertain me. Of course, so do views into the psyches of lovers. If you are female, my advice is simple: Enjoy all parts of the book except the final summary, which will piss you off since it replays that old ideology that the woman destroys everyhing and is untrustworthy--EVE in the garden.
I was intrigued by many elements of the text: expected behaviors for widows, an articulated archaic version of "The Rules," a sort of textual dance between off-putting conduct and desire, and a commentary on what kinds of love may be experienced by whom and how.
I love Margaret Atwood. There is something about her work that cuts to the bone. A density without purple prose--a very liberating sense of a woman, oI love Margaret Atwood. There is something about her work that cuts to the bone. A density without purple prose--a very liberating sense of a woman, often, telling someone off. That said, this book read like a story that felt visually and sensitively incomplete--like its author was clever with using devices of the time the work plays upon, but not completely committed to the creation of fuller characters, of believable and enriching narrative for the story she wished to tell. It could be that using this particular original source as a foil is a fairly daunting task, intertextually. It could be that allusions to the original do not take the place of or interest as reader as much as new story-telling, but it is my view that derivative texts, especially, must have enough of their own bounce and fiber to pull off something innovative and worth reading. I enjoyed many passages of this--and Atwood's wit and dark humor, as always--but I felt that this particular book was a lark that may have been too agendaed to be fully accessible and I wanted more realism in the characters. Before reviewing it, I thought for several days about whether my respect for Atwood's work had caused the wrinkle of my lack of satisfaction with the text: Could it be that I simply expect or expected more from her and this biased my reading? I'm not sure. I will give the book another read in a year or so and see--but for now, I left the text with no more sympathy for the maids and Penelope than I came in with. So it was a zero-sum of emotional investment. Again, this could be my bias as a reader: I like a book that rolls me. A book that punches me in the face and makes me beg it to come back. This one, I felt like, well, come back if you wanna. It's all right. ...more
Cut Through the Bone is an excellent collection of shorts. Rohan has great skill with dense modern prose, a cunning way with dialogue, and an enjoyablCut Through the Bone is an excellent collection of shorts. Rohan has great skill with dense modern prose, a cunning way with dialogue, and an enjoyable sense of humor. I read the whole book in one sitting. Each piece has its own charm. I do recommend. ...more
Though some Murakami fans may consider this a simple love story as compared to his other work, a straight story as it were, I found it a charming readThough some Murakami fans may consider this a simple love story as compared to his other work, a straight story as it were, I found it a charming read because of the struggle the narrator has with understanding his own loyalties to past, present, and future. It's a book that speaks to old debts and old loves, impossible as they may be, and the complexity of living in a world that demands active participation for a person too deeply enmeshed in recall to surpass the ghosts of yesterday with a strength of choice until much mulling has been done. And yet, there is hope and optimism and new wind and progress. There are some beautifully bizarre triangulations of sentiment and need. The narrator was sympathetic throughout. It's a curious thing to read a book about a character who gives himself wherever needed, who gently returns others to a right path or exists as a mirror for the diversity in the impulses of those around him. I found this a quiet book, one that stirred me. One in which the reader hopes well for everyone, as the catastrophes of examined lives mount. Plus, my favorite Beatles song as the title? I knew I couldn't go wrong. :) Cheers and happy reading!...more
Welty's novel has spunk. Horrified by the new wife's character at the beginning of a narrative that seems built around an old man dying, my initial imWelty's novel has spunk. Horrified by the new wife's character at the beginning of a narrative that seems built around an old man dying, my initial impression was that this book would be an ensemble cast narrative of a specific Southern community and somewhat comic but lightweight reading. The structure, however, changes as the book continues. From a narrative rife with dialogue, there is a deepening of the layers during the later passages about the optimist's daughter and much prose that delicately pokes at the fabric of memory and a child's relationship to both her birth mother and her father. Just when you think the introspection is where the book will leave off, however, Welty satisfies with some sharp dramatic prose that takes the book full circle. I really enjoyed this novel and its stylistic departures. They gave it a rich and satisfying feel, almost as if the author had said: "Oh, you think you're reading one kind of book. How about this? And that?" I love to read the work of complex literary minds where the heart is in the details. It lends a sort of optimism about what literature does and can do without templates that feel plasticized. :) I'd read this again. ...more
There are some books, consumed with a nearly dead heart, that reawaken the reader to the luminous possibilities of poetry as a romantic and decidedlyThere are some books, consumed with a nearly dead heart, that reawaken the reader to the luminous possibilities of poetry as a romantic and decidedly powerful vehicle for human expression. Roripaugh's On the Cusp of a Dangerous Year is just such a book. Here, there are intimate portrayals of being a lover, a scorned lover, an ex-lover in exile, an ex-lover still longing--a series of portraitures of a vibrant narrator expelling her beautiful fragments of life just the way the tiny details in one's own home or travel can seem to equate both the squalid and the divine, but perhaps more eloquently.
Notably, Roripaugh's skill for passionate verse comes through clearly in her use of fruit in such poems as "Luscious Things" and "Hegemony, Anemone, Chalcedony, Persephone," and space and insects in other startling poems like "The Desire for Space Travel is a Metaphor for Escape" and "Bioluminescence." Whichever page you flip to, I found this a beautiful book, the kind you read piece by piece, poem by poem, so as to enjoy it slowly, so as to take in the full experience of the ache like an echo that depicts the particulates you know you have lived before but can live anew through another's articulation. She is funny, too, Roripaugh. All things are blasted with unexpected beauty to the ever-pummeled gut. All things are not okay and yet they're all okay too. In a whispering braiding of image and parse, this book gets to you. Perhaps because all things are shared....more
Perhaps I expected more; perhaps I was disheartened by the dislike of the semi-colon, which I say in jest, but I was hopeful this book would prove deePerhaps I expected more; perhaps I was disheartened by the dislike of the semi-colon, which I say in jest, but I was hopeful this book would prove deeper than the light meditations it unearthed. It read like a long essay sold as a revelatory book. There were passages I enjoyed and it was a quick read, an easy read, greatly improved upon by the interesting prints throughout, but it seemed a narrative whose steam was diluted by the minimalism of saying just enough to be charming and far too little to be elucidating. I enjoy Vonnegut, it's true, but this book was like reading a pamphlet in favor of a text. Wished it was three times the length. Good to know he liked being such a chatty guy, however. I would have enjoyed this as a conversation more than a memoir. A curious thing it is to feel the largest topics have been broached and yet unanswered. Onto Paglia. A whopper of a book next. Want more to chew....more
In a memoir as beautiful as any I have read, Lidia Yuknavitch astounds with her gorgeous and unique and catastrophic truth-telling--with her driving aIn a memoir as beautiful as any I have read, Lidia Yuknavitch astounds with her gorgeous and unique and catastrophic truth-telling--with her driving ability to give meaning to those acts we each perform, almost casually, that violate the self and illuminate what clues we must use later for important self-reclamations. There is poetry here in this book. There is honesty here too--these combined with a vulnerability and level of craft that makes the language resonate in ways both large and small: Is it a ripple or an ocean? I love when a book flashes and twists with a voice and sound that is not as interested in cloaking as in revealing, a reverie that is sad, that is raw, that is joyous, and that is gratifying and well outside of the "appropriate realm" many determine standard issue for words, experience, and thoughts. Like the title, a motif of water travels through the narration, which is issued in short startling gasps, short chapters that say both just enough to fill in the blanks and so much that sometimes one must pause and reflect on the white space they have provided as place to rest. A woman's sex life is chronicled. A woman's relationship with water is chronicled. More importantly, a woman's love life is chronicled, whether that describes love for the self, the family, the romantic attraction, the idea, or other less nameable things. This is a book that goes full circle--takes the reader into the truly intimate moments that most authors slyly camouflage with fiction or demurring. When you entered this text, perhaps you were not a swimmer necessarily, but you are certainly that as you leave. In my view, Yuknavitch succeeds with illustrating, through this book, that we are all swimmers--in addition to offering a wider and most welcome definition for the word love, which grows in facets with each added page. Highly recommend. What's not to love? Buy it already. ...more