alicia drake has written the non-fiction version of the amazing adventures of kavalier and clay. this book, a bildingsroman in the truest sense, doesalicia drake has written the non-fiction version of the amazing adventures of kavalier and clay. this book, a bildingsroman in the truest sense, does a wonderful job of painting the human side of yves saint laurent, karl lagerfeld and their respective coderies, which serves to highlight their dizzing rise to superstardom. by turns hilarious and tragic, drake offers an impressive litany of sources to flesh out this poignant tale. we see saint laurent at the glittery heights of his creativity, a precipice inevitably lost to the crushing depths of his depression. despite the designers attempt to scuttle the books reputation, drake delivers a nuanced portrait of lagerfeld, suggesting in the process that his famous eccentricities may be a mask concealing a traumatic childhood. it is a study of opposites: saint laurent, the tortured wunderkind hidden away in his protective bubble, and lagerfeld, the tireless laborer absrobing and reappropriating everything around him. but for all its anthropological burrowing, fall truly shines when invocing the fabulous clothing these coutiers produce in stagering number. drake claims that fashion has become a post war society's preferred form of self-expression and re-invention. saint laurent and lagerfeld are the perfect embodiment of that zeitgeist....more
Just because the beach read season has officially ended doesn’t mean you have to dive headlong into the complete works of John Milton. Ease the transiJust because the beach read season has officially ended doesn’t mean you have to dive headlong into the complete works of John Milton. Ease the transition with the latest from Sebastian Faulks. In Engleby, the best-selling Brit better known for historical novels like World War I tome Birdsong delivers a darkly humorous anti-bildungsroman about a wry loner with a schoolboy crush. The staggeringly brilliant Mike Engleby (AKA Toilet) has an opinion about everything from the pop music of Human League (pathetic) to the politics of Margaret Thatcher (peculiar). When the object of Mike’s affection, a schoolmate named Jennifer Arkland, goes missing we’re left wondering what Mike omits from his rambling narration. But Jennifer never drifts far from his thoughts. Even after he’s landed a reporting gig in London and found a girlfriend, Mike relaxes by recalling verbatim entire passages from Jennifer’s diary.
Engleby moves with a voice by turns mesmerizing and chilling. And Faulks, a master of tone, wields it to full effect as events intimate Mike may have had more to do with Jennifer’s disappearance than he cares to remember. The novel has its weak points, too. Allusions to scholars of yore muddle the text with erudition while half-hearted social commentary leaves all but the most immediate elements limp and underplayed.
Faulks has made a bold stab in a new direction, and his unflinching verve relating even the goriest scenes will surely strike a chord with readers nostalgic for the type of über-violence popularized in Bret Easton Elis’ American Psycho. But it’s a crowded world of literary bloodlust, and for most Mike Engleby will amount to little more that Patrick Bateman’s quaint British cousin.