He has a piece up at TPM that is very good, in response to recent comments expressing false optimism about the US economy. He lists about 12 darts eac...moreHe has a piece up at TPM that is very good, in response to recent comments expressing false optimism about the US economy. He lists about 12 darts each of which is sharp-tipped enough to completely deflate such foolish perceptions. Brutal. And he mentions that an updated version of this book is out or coming out soon. Will be looking forward to reading that! (less)
Living in Connecticut during my High School years, I was aware of the ambiance around places like Sag Harbor.. I wonder if this book will confirm/deny...moreLiving in Connecticut during my High School years, I was aware of the ambiance around places like Sag Harbor.. I wonder if this book will confirm/deny one of my growing beliefs that blacks growing up in affluence receive the very clear message that they will be well rewarded for choosing the socially-conservative community as home. I included the shelf 'cities' because, for a lot of elite in the bigger cities, a place like Sag Harbor is a big part of their lives.(less)
Ok, I didn't *read* this, but plays are meant to be seen, not read. And I saw it - well, not the play, but the uber-excellent film made my Mike Nichol...moreOk, I didn't *read* this, but plays are meant to be seen, not read. And I saw it - well, not the play, but the uber-excellent film made my Mike Nichols with Meryl Streep and everyone. Very luscious. I saw it again last week, while home sick. I'd been wanting to see it, as Tony Kushner is here opening a new work and having stagings of multiple prior works. It's all Kushner, all the time. It's wonderful. So, in case I get to fit in any of the performances, I wanted to see this of his again. And this time, I knew what to expect more. It didn't overwhelm me nearly as much. In fact, I was prepared to be overwhelmed, and I wasn't. It was almost like a micro-experience. Scenes I'd remembered as going on forever seemed very short. Speaks to the effect of surprise on one's viewing experience, I guess. But back to the words of it and all - in a review of one of his plays here, a reviewer used the word 'Proclamatory' to describe it. I was so relieved. That's how I'd felt about it, but hadn't known how to describe it. But that's exactly it. Not that there isn't a plot, and characters, and forward motion (on so many levels), but much of the action and dialogue and monologues do, in fact, proclaim. And, more in keeping with my prior reaction, much of it felt beyond my grasp. I mean, I just couldn't gain traction with parts of it. Much about America, and Freedom, and Love, and whatnot. Tony said things, and I couldn't disagree or agree, or even nod my head. There were collections of words I just couldn't add up the meanings to. One small example: A death, a request to forgive, a refusal to forgive, a suggestion that: perhaps forgiveness is where justice and love meet. Ok, I know what all those words mean, but, the sum of them in that organization, I can't get there. 'Where love and justice meet' - they meet? They're normally separate? Like parallel lines? Only, in forgiveness, these parallel lines cross? Or, the personal (love) separate from the public (justice).....?? Or love between people, justice for those who've done wrong...love prevents justice (lack of forgiveness) or love and justice as two different effects, meeting in the choice of forgiveness perhaps. A big part of my experience was that I wasn't all there, recovering from a sleepless night due to episodic illness. So, thinking powers were reduced. Clearly, causing me to miss whole impacts of this rich, essential work. Much of it still delighted me and was very wonderful. The part about how God does change - perfect. Lou's reaction to Joe's professional work, Mother Pitt about disappointment, Ethel Rosenberg's reaction with her eyes to one thing Roy Cohn says, the Rabbi's initial speech. That initial speech at the funeral alone is priceless, about immigrants and what they brought with them to the US. I tear up just thinking about it. Harper's piece towards the end about how nothing is lost, nothing is in vain; that too. How Belize gets the first few bottles of AZT from Roy fascinates. Mother Pitt is so awesome. Joe's perfect... what.. insanity? And such a great look at conservatism, and race in the US, and how the gay community dealt with the AIDS crisis as it hit, and the price paid by women married to closeted gay men almost most of it; except so much of the rest is also very fully related. But all of Lou's ramblings go past me - and I think some of them are supposed to, but that I'm also missing some. Next time I see it, with my faculties all in place, hopefully will gain entire additional meanings. My advice to you: see it when you're at your best, to gain the most from it.(less)
Sounds really interesting as far as that subject, and racism, and voting patterns today yet even. Not sure I'll make it to actually reading it unless...moreSounds really interesting as far as that subject, and racism, and voting patterns today yet even. Not sure I'll make it to actually reading it unless the optimal conditions present themselves, but sure sounds like I'd like to have.(less)
Great works resemble diamonds (one of the main characters is a jeweler) - when opened, they sparkle with intact brilliance...moreWow, highly recommend this.
Great works resemble diamonds (one of the main characters is a jeweler) - when opened, they sparkle with intact brilliance multiplied.
This book is like that. As I progressed through it, I developed a perception of each character presented as a sympathetic, very human character. Not-so-great thinks and insecurities and inadequacies about each one were revealed, but my feelings for each of them were simply deepened. At the end, no character was on a pedestal, no character was a monster. All had done/were both good and bad. All had been accessible, opened through great writing for the reader's understanding.
The author, Dalia, had experienced much of what the girl in this story did (and, by the way, her character was probably the most shocking to me, with her internal goings-on - at her age - completely undoing me.) Her father has also been imprisoned, her family had also left Iran after. But it is also fiction, the best kind of fiction: fiction rooted in the writer's reality.
This book's effects on me include: a warm feeling for the country of Iran; interest in reading Iranian writers; somewhat of an (understanding) of those who gained power during that period, and others in similar positions; a need to process a bunch of new class-struggle ideas; a new resolve to always be gentle to those who are here from elsewhere, given what all they may have gone through; and an intense interest in everything this woman has written!
Now, in June 2009, extremely timely. And from this book and others, I imagine it will remain timely, one way or another.(less)
Initially: I liked the way the protaganist was with women for the most part, a lot.
The ideas discussed in this novel are fascina...moreWill mull my review..
Initially: I liked the way the protaganist was with women for the most part, a lot.
The ideas discussed in this novel are fascinating and extremely timely. The merging of that discussion into the format of a spy novel caused me a bit of a stumble. Parts of it felt forced to me, or formulaic, or almost tv-movie-ish. There was something tv-movie-ish in general, I think the simple characterizations mainly. It so happens that a lot of what I've read lately is written from multiple characters' point-of-view, and/or has rich characterization and a lot of the internal workings of them all during the story. Coming from those experiences, I missed that in this one.
There were discontinuities that I couldn't bridge. Like the initial relationship between Jack and Toby; vs. the relationship between them during the 1953 events; vs. the way it apparently went between them after that (the book ends with Toby suggesting to Jack that they put aside their differences and work together, and apparently that's what happened?).
Also info about what Jack had done prior to the book starting, vs. what he was doing when it opened (tending bar); I don't know what was served by having that be so secret. Given that he had this great record, why was he not still involved in some way? Him being in the bar gives the impression that he had a problem with his past military involvement to a degree, but then that doesn't seem to be true. etc..
When toward the end Yari says that he was the realist and Jack the idealist, that threw me for a loop.
But most important, it's hard to grasp what the conclusion was intended to be regarding the US and the CIA: it is presented that such coups prevent war and provide stability and therefore are good; if that's not the intended message, I'm not seeing where it was countered in the book. There's some content around the role of the Muslim leaders, but it's pretty vague. And given that it was written today, with all that's gone on, more content about that would have been of interest.
So, as I said, I'll mull on an actual review..(less)
Perfect for my transit journeys this next week. Her 'Their Eyes' still resonates from when I re-read it last fall, am delighted to have more to read o...morePerfect for my transit journeys this next week. Her 'Their Eyes' still resonates from when I re-read it last fall, am delighted to have more to read of her.
Have read 5 or 6 so far, I really like them. Have been reading anthologies of short stories and so on for the last several months, and hers are definitely among my favorite. They don't throw me around too much, they match up information provided with information required well, they have a full, rich flavor that is very accessible, there is a great story arc to each one, full characters despite the short story format: all adds up to sublime delight.
Marking as read, but there is more there for next time..
Just came upon this and it drew me in for a re-read.. with a vague reminiscence..
Then, 20 pages in, it's clear: This is the one! This is the book with...moreJust came upon this and it drew me in for a re-read.. with a vague reminiscence..
Then, 20 pages in, it's clear: This is the one! This is the book with the depiction of the woman who is homeless, but who copes with it for years, working as a cleaning women, keeping her homelessness secret. Never getting foodstamps even, never getting housing assistance, her kids don't care much, her ex-husband really doesn't care, no human contact; wear lipstick always, many other daily rules to 'pass' for normal (with home). Something quietly nerve-wracking about that character, has kind of haunted me ever since.
This was written in '94, with no huge big recession in sight, a time of 'prosperity' here. In this way, this work is historical, as it captures perfectly the class divide in this country during 'good' times.
Also, have to say, the pictures of marriages in this book had their effect on me as well; when the first ended, didn't ever become a goal to quick - get married again!! Hurry! Not. Rather be alone than in a bad marriage (of any kind), and the thinkings these women go through (especially Lelia, the 'happiest' of the 3) has continued to create a level of contentment in my life as it is. Until a clear situation presents itself..
Through it all, Marge's tough-to-read-at-times tones and nuances, but I like her level of detail, so it's all just fine.
Reading this again now is like purging fibrous fear-tumors from my psyche.. Seeing the words on the page that have resonated since last time, coupled with my actual situation today, burn away these accumulations.. have been watching this show that I'd seen as a young child, that I think scared me, burning that away as well. Spring cleaning!
Anyway, here's one of those sentences:
"Her life was always about to tip over like a precarious pile of crockery she must keep balanced." Can so relate.
And the parts with Mary, the main character who's homeless, talking with Beverly who's also homeless (at only her mid-40's) and was attacked, in the hospital, also clang with an especially metallic air:
"although Mary felt their lives had been so different when they were both 'inside the fold' to use Beverly's phrase, that she was never sure what Beverly pictured. 'Sometimes,' she said to Beverly, 'when I'm talking about Cindy or Jaime or my ex-husband, suddenly I feel as if I'm telling you about some woman I work for, or as if I made it all up. It's so far away. Do you ever feel that way?" "'She hates to think about her life before. (Beverly only speaks of herself in the 3rd person) If she does, she gets mad. Then all she can do is mutter and kick the curb, and then she looks even crazier.' Beverly gave that gaunt gap-toothed grin."(less)
I always had the impression 'Vida' was somewhat autobiographical; I liked that aspect of it, but not it generally that much. This sounds similar.. loo...moreI always had the impression 'Vida' was somewhat autobiographical; I liked that aspect of it, but not it generally that much. This sounds similar.. looking forward to it..(less)