The beauty of Mbue's debut novel is the wide and diverse set of characters she manages to stitch together into a rich tapestry to embody a particularThe beauty of Mbue's debut novel is the wide and diverse set of characters she manages to stitch together into a rich tapestry to embody a particular moment in recent American history. The collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008 was one of the most conspicuous in a series of events that set America (and the entire globe) into the great financial crisis; Mbue takes this macro event and chooses to set her focus instead on the micro, specifically those on the periphery of these events and yet were directly affected by it. Chauffeurs, secretaries, housekeepers, caregivers who unexpectedly lost their jobs as the wealthy and privileged parachuted their way to other situations—these are the types of "invisible" individuals whose experiences Mbue gives vivid voice to. If on a purely stylistic level I can't claim this is particularly distinctive or memorable, what makes Behold the Dreamers nonetheless compelling is the particularly adept way Mbue represents a whole spectrum of tiny relationship dynamics of the type I don't often see reflected in literature whihc are then intricately entwined into a specific milieu and moment that already seems in the process of being willfully forgotten. ...more
Schuiten's startling imagery was the initial attraction, and the intricacy of his baroque Art Nouveau-ish urban labyrinths did not disappoint. But almSchuiten's startling imagery was the initial attraction, and the intricacy of his baroque Art Nouveau-ish urban labyrinths did not disappoint. But almost immediately found myself wrapped up in the equally elaborate narrative provided by Benoît Peeters as well. There's a movement and sweep to the marriage of image + text that is almost cinematic; it's something like those imaginative sci-fi B-films of the 1950's Hollywood writ large with the unlimited budget and resources provided by pen and ink to paper. Graphic novels aren't really thing, but I just sent away for the next installment.
My friend Bruce Hainley had told me about a new book coming out called “This Young Monster,” by Charlie Fox, but I had forgotten all about it until the publisher Fitzcarraldo Editions in London sent me this beautifully designed French-flap-style paperback original. Good God, where did this wise-beyond-his-years 25-year-old critic’s voice come from? His breath of proudly putrefied air is really something to behold. Finally, a new Parker Tyler is on the scene. Yep. Mr. Fox is the real thing.
A Parker Tyler comparison? I can't resist that!...more
Struggled a bit with this and nearly put it aside on several occasions, but I emphasize it's me, not it: as witty as it often is, I just wasn't very oStruggled a bit with this and nearly put it aside on several occasions, but I emphasize it's me, not it: as witty as it often is, I just wasn't very often in the mood for banter about the end of the world through political disaster and incompetence—nuclear scares and economic fiascos anxiously cast long shadow across this narrative—at this moment of grave political incompetence and likely disaster. And yet, Mitchell's novel is often funny—riotously, devastatingly so, and is what ultimately carried me through to the end.
I'll certainly be revisiting the Terminal Bar at some future date, when I'm in the right mood and frame of mind for this gloriously anarchist, acerbic, and ultimately endearing group of mistfit fags and dykes of all stripes. If anything, I couldn't help but feel that they're more or less the descendants of the sissies and bohemian queers of The Young and Evil, wearily maintaining the space staked out half a century before, and that's certainly worth continued consideration from me.
"At that moment the lights in the bar turned up. They all squint and blink and moan.
'It's all over but the gossip,' Maybellene declares.
They stumble out into the gritty air. The next day, as the phones ring all over the Lower East Side, the evening is judged a great success... they would never sacrifice their politics for an amusing story, but they would sacrifice nearly anything else and often do."