Add me to the list of those who love this book. You are my kind of group. You probably write--I picture you like Stephen King who reviewed it for theAdd me to the list of those who love this book. You are my kind of group. You probably write--I picture you like Stephen King who reviewed it for the NYTRofB page spending 5 plus hours a day at your desk roughing out scenes and choosing careful words. You are smart and have probably read multiple novels by Charles Dickens and Fyodr Dostoevsky. Maybe you collect art AND furniture. It's troubling that I feel unsophisticated in your presence but maybe there is more depth in the not-all-together perfectness of this sudden relationship. I feel joined to you over this particular piece of art which belongs to me even though there is a "you" I must share it with. That's what the novel has taught me, how to share a little more happily. ...more
Peter Never Came is a collection that builds in intensity the way a novel or a coming of age tale does. The conflicts in the initial stories deal withPeter Never Came is a collection that builds in intensity the way a novel or a coming of age tale does. The conflicts in the initial stories deal with children. Whether old or young, the main characters struggle with fields of vision limited by their basic understanding of conflict beyond good versus evil. In the story Pan and Pirates an older narrator remembers the emotional demons he first witnessed in himself as a grade-schooler, and which he believes defined his adulthood. In the story "When I was Twelve" a preteen begins to wrestle with the question of identity. Who am I? How did I become this person? Is this the me, that will be me forever? The eerie story which closes Part 1 of the collection, "The Kind That Can Be Real," interrogates realities we accept and realities we question.
But Cowger doesn't stop here. The main characters in the second half wrestle with the problem of lingering and prolonged adolescence. The college professor narrator in "Wishing on Airplanes" shifts the blame of his unlived life on his wife. The closing and title story "Peter Never Came" rivets with its narrative anger and intensity. I don't think I've read a story that better described the doubt I felt as I verged into a woman who believed herself old enough to have children.
Cowger includes epilogues and interludes, and the Epilogue closes with a sly hint that we are at once the center of a universe which needs to grow and change and the tiniest and most insignificant of molecular assemblages. Peter Never Came is a beautiful compilation, a true opus on human evolution....more
Today I sat through the world's longest and hottest band concert after making the mistake of finishing John Irving's newest novel In One Person yesterToday I sat through the world's longest and hottest band concert after making the mistake of finishing John Irving's newest novel In One Person yesterday. Usually it's best to have a book, a very good book, along with you when your daughter is about to play the baritone in the 5th through 12th grade recital. Instead of reading, I looked over the crowd, checked out the kids behind their music stands, matched some of them with their parents and grandparents on the very hard risers around the gym. It's a small town, but there is a lot of love for anything school-related, and there is a general acceptance of terminally long music programs. John Irving's In One Person begins in small town Vermont and explores various local attitudes toward a more complex idea--a trans-gender librarian named Miss Frost. To some, Miss Frost is an abomination, to others a curiosity, and to William Abbott the narrator of the novel, she is a mother-father role model and protector. Irving seems to be most interested in the individual human capacity for tolerance. The details of Billy's bisexuality become painful when his lovers and friends begin dying of AIDS. The question of gender blurs in every other character and yet nearly everyone in the novel is a fluid entity. William Abbott maintains that he is intolerant of intolerance. He champions his identity AND the identities of those he most identifies with. He is one of Irving's most exciting character's yet because he is the most outwardly heroic.We small-towners can sit through three hour school programs in one hundred degree heat. We can, and should, also wrap our hearts and minds around the many ways we have to be human.
I stayed at the Chelsea Hotel two years ago, thrashing around in my sheets and brushing the walls with my fingers. I hoped there might be bedbugs so II stayed at the Chelsea Hotel two years ago, thrashing around in my sheets and brushing the walls with my fingers. I hoped there might be bedbugs so I could carry the place's Karma home with me. Patti Smith's memoir Just Kids is a gift which supplied more nights of the Chelsea's mismanaged dreaming. I loved the book's overwhelming tone of gratitude, the history it records, and the streets it walks. I loved the photographs and getting to know Robert Mapplethorpe through Patti's lens of intimacy and affection. Did I pretend to be Patti Smith as I read? Yup. How often does this happen with a memoir whose usual purpose is to declare individuality and uniqueness? Robert Mapplethorpe and Patti Smith are unusual and unique, but their attachment and mutual inspiration to each other are part of a shared joy, a growing and evolving of collaboration between American Artists. Just Kids is an ode to friendship and a truly beautiful book that should be read, set down, and remembered along with all the other fleeting moments of astonishing childhood. ...more