:: Reviews

Typewriters, Bombs, Jellyfish… and Women published 09/05/2017

Written in the wake of post-history and post-theory, McCarthy’s essays think through the ways—and this is going to sound very old-fashioned—we might re-inject meaning and a sense of shape to many of the movements and writers that postmodernism has written off. If catastrophic event-scenes like 9/11 reintroduced the Real into an intellectual landscape where it seemed to have been extinguished in the void of non-history, then the works of McCarthy and, though their lines of approach are various and toggle through various genres, Deborah Levy, McKenzie Wark, Will Self, and Rachel Kushner, do a strange turnabout, gazing back at the super-structures of Modernism—fragmentation, alienation, temporal dislocation—that the postmodernists thought they had ironized out of meaning.

Nicholas Rombes reviews Bombs, Typewriters, Jellyfish by Tom McCarthy.

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30 Observations published 08/05/2017

I’ve been interested in aphorisms for a long time, though I’ve struggled to actually write them myself.

Christopher Schaberg on Sarah Manguso‘s 300 Arguments.

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A World of Dreams Constrained: Leonora Carrington’s Down Below published 04/05/2017

Review of Leonora Carrington's Down Below

The text itself invites a tripartite reading as a lucid subjective account of mental breakdown, a work that stands in opposition to her other output, and a distinct apocryphal telling of a descent. It is the strength and strangeness of the book that Carrington offers little beyond the description of events and flashes of her thought processes.

Thogdin Ripley reviews Down Below by Leonora Carrington.

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Durga Chew-Bose’s taxonomy of self: A review of Too Much and Not the Mood published 25/04/2017

A review of Too Much and Not the Mood

Though Chew-Bose manages to make even watching a stranger’s window from a street corner sound like part of the glamour of the city, the aspect of New York that she presents as the most alluring is as a place that has provided fertile ground for the growth of her friendships with the women she’s met here.

Rebecca Schuh reviews Too Much and Not the Mood by Durga Chew-Bose.

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Utopia for Realists and The Radical Incrementalist published 19/04/2017

To illustrate the latter, we have this tired old trope: “Voters swing back and forth not because the parties are so different, but because it’s barely possible to tell them apart”. I worry for the eyesight and political sensibility of anyone who cannot distinguish Corbyn’s Labour from May’s Conservatives, or Clinton’s Democrats from Trump’s Republicans.

John P. Houghton reviews two very different manifestos for the future.

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False Starts: On Patty Yumi Cottrell’s Sorry to Disrupt the Peace published 17/04/2017

The most captivating thing in this book is Helen’s bizarre mannerisms: her instinct to laugh unapologetically during the novel’s more somber moments, her ability to say the exact wrong thing in every situation, or the imaginary “European Man” she sees floating in the ambience of her most emotional moments. Just what exactly is up with her?

M.K. Rainey reviews Sorry to Disturb the Peace by Patty Yumi Cottrell.

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Team-Building published 14/04/2017

Daniel Magariel’s accomplished debut novel begins with two boys – the narrator and his brother – conspiring with their father to shop their mother to social services with fabricated allegations of physical and sexual violence. The father wins custody and the three of them start a new life together in New Mexico. Though the brothers are well aware of his eccentricity – they joke about him behind his back, mocking the solemn machismo of his corny pep-talks – they are nevertheless hopelessly in his thrall.

Houman Barekat reviews One of the Boys by Daniel Magariel.

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In umbra voluptatis lusi: A Review of A Terrace in Rome by Pascal Quignard published 06/04/2017

A Terrace in Rome review

True, it is not easy to describe what is so enjoyable and compelling about Quignard’s books. A rewarding exercise, however, awaits those who have the patience to slowly absorb his erudite though disjointed writings. His fragmented style has the ability to unveil our own vague meditations on subjects that have been lingering, unfocused, in the back of our minds.

Melissa Beck reviews A Terrace in Rome by Pascal Quignard.

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Elegy for a Hillbilly Marriage: A Review of The Sarah Book by Scott McClanahan published 04/04/2017

This is McClanahan’s seventh book in nine years. He has said The Sarah Book took five years to write. This isn’t surprising. To write honestly of a failed marriage requires some perspective. To write of it successfully requires some healing. You can feel the healing taking place on the pages.

Mike Murphy reviews The Sarah Book by Scott McClanahan.

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Who will save us now? A review of Holy Nowhere by Nick Power published 28/03/2017

With its northern settings and cast of working class characters whose tough lives are illuminated by pitch black humour and affectionate piss-taking, Holy Nowhere has the quality of a good Ken Loach film, full of moments that make you believe the world might not actually be as bad as it seems.

Matthew Boswell reviews Holy Nowhere by Nick Power.

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