:: Reviews

Binding Cartesianism(s): on Anne Boyer’s A Handbook of Disappointed Fate published 20/03/2018

Anne Boyer’s latest collection of essays, A Handbook of Disappointed Fate inflicts writing that perfects its own oppositions and rehearses riotous tonalities of no against the mandatory, capitalist yes. Saying nothing or staying put as foreplays for saying “not this” are the constant practices of refusalists who don’t put a muzzle on their biting no each time they refuse the prepackaged order of the world, and try to overturn it instead.

MH reviews A Handbook of Disappointed Fate by Anne Boyer.

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The Triumph of Glaciers: On Ice by Anna Kavan and The Ice Palace by Tarjei Vesaas published 01/03/2018

Ice Palace review

Reiterating this appreciation of the “nocturnal” nature of the novel, Doris Lessing called Ice a “phantasmagoria”, adding in a review that “[h]owever we class the book, there is nothing else like it”. Lessing was less guarded in her enthusiasm for Tarjei Vesaas’ The Ice Palace, a tale about a girl who goes missing in a small Norwegian community. “How simple this novel is,” she observed. “How subtle. How strong. How unlike any other. It is unique. It is unforgettable. It is extraordinary.”

Xenobe Purvis reviews Ice by Anna Kavan and The Ice Palace by Tarjei Vesaas.

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Spatiality and Emotionality in Hernan Diaz’s Novel In the Distance published 05/02/2018

Diaz dispels the old myth of the West. In his novel, we see that even a giant white man can be taken advantage of amidst the setting of an emerging empire. Håkan interacts with very few Indigenous people throughout the novel, which might come as a surprise, but is fitting since those voices have been destroyed from the narrative of American progress. Håkan himself rarely speaks. Not due to the language barrier, because he picks up English easily. He actively avoids interacting with others after suffering the trauma caused by the actions of those he meets, affecting his navigation through an environment made hostile by human behavior. While the landscape and terrain itself proves uninviting and dangerous, it is the company of others that proves to be the most lethal.

Gabriel Boudali reviews In the Distance by Hernan Diaz.

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Portrait of Another Artist: Jean Giono’s Melville published 25/01/2018

Review of Jean Giono's Melville

Melville is the product of rule-breaking. While translating Moby-Dick into French with Lucien Jacques and Gaston Gallimard, Giono was approached by the publisher to write an introduction, and this brief novel, about Melville’s 1849 trip to London, is the result.

Aidan Watson-Morris reviews Melville by Jean Giono.

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A remarkable woman in remarkable times: Eileen Chang’s Little Reunions published 23/01/2018

Review of Eileen Chang's Little Reunions

Chang’s reputation as one of China’s great modern writers has not translated into a wide appreciation in the English-speaking world, despite many of her Chinese-language novels and short stories being translated into English. Love in a Fallen City, translated by Karen Kingsbury in 2006, is a selection of stories taken from Romances. Meanwhile, in 2007, Ang Lee directed a film adaptation of her novella Lust/Caution. Nevertheless, her fame and appreciation remains centred in China and Taiwan.

Josie Mitchell reviews Little Reunions by Eileen Chang.

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A Man For Our Time: Eugene Marten’s Firework published 11/01/2018

If you’re looking for an inspiring, feel-good story to divert you from the reality of our time, well, you’ll need to look somewhere else.

Mike Murphy reviews Firework by Eugene Marten.

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More 3:AM Books of the Year published 20/12/2017

When the last Woolworth’s finally closed, the sexual playground of a haunted English eroticism was lost forever. Glen Zipes’s urgent little book recalls the misery of the strange pathologies of the grim mauve sadness and holiness of these sacrilegious shopping emporia. Zipes writes badly, and there are moments when it isn’t easy to separate his own state of mind from the worlds he describes. But there is a seedy love here, somewhere between murder and onanism, and we all know that that is the exact territory of our lonely essential significance.

More Books of the Year from 3:AM Magazine.

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All the Way Up and All the Way Down published 17/12/2017

Triplow quotes novelist David Peace referring to ‘a sustained war’ on working-class culture, leading to writers such as Lewis, John Braine and Alan Sillitoe being sidelined. Maybe – no mainstream British political party finds that culture attractive today although all, in the past, have sought to woo it. But the aspirationalism which Lewis criticises could also have played its part in that culture’s decline: people want to forget where they’ve striven to escape from. And Britain – being the land of the diamond geezer, decent bloke and jolly good chap – is perhaps particularly full of those unwilling to even admit that life has a dark side, let alone examine it.

Nicky Charlish on Getting Carter – Ted Lewis and the Birth of Brit Noir by Nick Triplow.

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3:AM Books of the Year published 04/12/2017

When the author met her husband-to-be, he did not even own a smartphone, but with personal technological advances came distraction, fame, and ultimately, divorce. Told through ironic fragments of 140 characters, this Twitter-inspired ‘auto-fiction’ protests everything that is wrong (or merely confusing) in modern life, and probes the deeper motives for living a life primarily online. At times sad, lacklustre and annoyed, the memoir nevertheless displays genuine compassion for its antagonist, and for the human desire to escape reality (however promising), and champion illusions.

Presenting our Books of the Year 2017.

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Porcelain Remains: a review of All My Goodbyes by Mariana Dimópulos published 21/11/2017

All My Goodbyes review

For Sontag, via Benjamin, “a book is not only a fragment of the world but itself a little world … [and] the best way to understand [it] is also to enter [its] space”. To enter the space of All My Goodbyes is to cross a threshold into a broken world. “I had as many pieces as a broken vase,” relates the book’s unnamed narrator, “and I never found a way to put them back together or even to number my porcelain remains.”

Anna MacDonald reviews All My Goodbyes by Mariana Dimópulos.

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