:: Reviews

Commit to Looking: A Review of Caits Meissner’s Let It Die Hungry published 27/12/2016

Meissner is acutely aware of the unease and difficulty she presents. She does not offer any one thing as a solution, but acknowledges the constant push and pull inherent in living. There is a sense of coming into one’s own by both running from the self and returning to it.

M.K. Rainey reviews Caits Meissner‘s book of poems, Let It Die Hungry.

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Post Punk Then and Now: a review published 22/12/2016

Post-punk is a term that most immediately relates to a period of cultural production that ran from the late 1970s to the mid 1980s. A difficult term to pin down in the categorising stakes, ‘post-punk’ most specifically recalls a musical genre typified by agitated and spiky sounds. While this can be attributed to innumerable bands (Magazine, The Fall, Gang of Four) it is the hollow and haunting soundscapes of Joy Division that exemplify the resonance of Fisher’s term Capitalism Realism.

Guy Mankowski reviews Post-Punk Then and Now.

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Mila Jaroniec’s Plastic Vodka Bottle Sleepover: A Survival Guide for the Queer and Not Quite Suicidal published 21/12/2016

As the narrator puts it, “Everyone understands when your answer to the intrusive Now What? devolves from the younger, grander Everything into the simple survive.” No one wants to hear this, but whittling our ambitions down to a manageable size is a large part of growing up. Forget about being a movie star or an astronaut or a professional athlete: How do I get out of bed in the morning? How do I make it to work in one piece without crying on the subway?

Evan Allgood reviews Plastic Vodka Bottle Sleepover by Mila Jaroniec.

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Last Scene Underground: A Review published 19/12/2016

Varzi plays the role of what the anthropologist Renato Rosaldo has called a positioned observer, trying to make sense of life long after the ethnographer’s duty of detailed description has been completed. Clifford Geertz has described creative ethnographers such as Varzi as novelists manqué, and she captures what I elsewhere have theorized as ethnographic surfeit. This surfeit is what remains after an ethnographer has paid dues to the science of empirical social knowledge. What is left is not quite hard data, but nonetheless an invaluable remainder of insight, affect, conversation, and emotion; an entire sensorium, which even if the ethnographer wants to, will not let her go.

Ather Zia reviews Last Scene Underground by Roxanne Varzi.

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Disclosing Being – On Raymond Chandler: The Detections of Totality by Fredric Jameson published 06/12/2016

The small length of Jameson’s book adds a tightness to its arguments and the style is often Chandler-esque: words are not wasted, literary observations are pin-sharp and there are some wry aperçu. Winningly, Jameson occasionally employs the genre’s rhetoric, so his theorising becomes the pursuing of “lines of enquiry”, a “procedure”, etc. It’s touches like this that make Jameson such a joy to read, as well as the density of ideas to be found in what could appear to be a pretty skimpy text.

Cornelius Fitz reviews Raymond Chandler: The Detections of Totality by Fredric Jameson.

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Talking About Woman: A review of La Femme de Gilles by Madeleine Bourdouxhe published 01/12/2016

La Femme de Gilles review

Bourdouxhe’s story is one of a woman driven to remedy her husband’s betrayal. The wife/woman of the title (“femmes” holds this double meaning, hence the artful choice not to choose which by using the title in the original French for the translation), seems compelled to behave just so in order to covertly manipulate her husband into tiring of the affair and back into embracing their marriage. Simply put: it’s a painful read. We want her to leave the cad.

Cara Benson reviews La Femme de Gilles by Madeleine Bourdouxhe.

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Romance in the age of alienated labour: a review of One Hundred Shadows by Hwang Jungeun published 29/11/2016

One Hundred Shadows review

The language of One Hundred Shadows is spare, pared down to convey the most basic information, further lending the story the aura of a fable. On one level, Eungyon and Mujae seem to exist in a pleasant haze, going on spontaneous dates, eating cheap food, taking long walks and having rambling conversations. Underneath the carefully-cultivated layer of an easygoing lifestyle, however, there is a force of anxious energy that is tied to both the rising shadows and a future without stable work.

Subashini Navaratnam reviews One Hundred Shadows by Hwang Jungeun.

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Angry People in Local Newspapers published 22/11/2016

It is easy to dismiss local news as irrelevant and outdated into today’s world of instant online, global communication; the preserve of headlines like ‘Old Mrs Miggins has a funny turn on the No. 30 bus’ and ‘Newsagent runs out of five pence pieces’. The Angry People in Local Newspapers blog, while celebrating the work of photographers, carries the implicit message that people pointing at potholes or performing petty acts of municipal revenge is all a bit sad and pointless.

John P. Houghton reviews The Mediated City.

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Death In Situ: Sifting Through Gabriele Tinti’s Last Words published 07/11/2016

Last Words by Gabriele Tinti

Research shows that 12-15% of those who commit suicide leave notes; Last Words offers a superficial glimpse of the phenomenon of suicide in light of the silent majority who did not leave notes. Yet the notes seem to be predicated on the belief of the ability of language to bear witness, and in this regard Last Words may be vitally instructive.

E.G. Cunningham reviews Last Words by Gabriele Tinti.

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Bye Bye Blondie published 31/10/2016

All I want is for some King Kong of a man to kill me, preferably after raping me like in a porn movie. ‘No wait,’ Virginie Despentes interrupted, ‘we’ve been there with Baise-moi, which American capitalist wankers marketed as Kiss Me. We need something new to get even with Michel Houellebecq and other alpha-male apes. Perhaps you, as a rebellious teenager, could blow up a bunch of middle-class losers using a TNT tampax?’ ‘You’ve been there too, with Apocalypse Baby,’ Gloria said, dragging on a super-powerful joint her disgusting angelic-looking boyfriend had proffered her.

Anna Aslanyan ‘reviews’ Virginie DespentesBye Bye Blondie.

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