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Archive for the ‘publishing’ Category

The Ghost (The Ghost Writer), by Robert Harris

Posted by the editors on Friday, 18 November 2011

The Ghost (2007)(Novel) by Robert Harris     One could call The Ghost, Robert Harris‘s sixth novel, a publishing/political thriller, and, at least in the first part, an entertainingly cynical one at that, with sharply amusing comments on the state of contemporary publishing.  Once we enter into the more political part of The Ghost, however, with the introduction of some rather predictable stock characters, not to mention the CIA, torture in the form of water-boarding, the war in Afghanistan, the International Criminal Court in The Hague, and more, Harris’s novel becomes slightly less entertaining, and most critics took square aim, attempting to drop it in its tracks.  Nevertheless, The Ghost, went on to become an international best seller.  The Ghost will not be confused as “literature”, let’s be clear on that point; it is, however, an entertaining, and yes, a rather thrilling read. (PR)

Nota: Roman Polanski‘s, well-received and quite effective 2010 thriller film, The Ghost Writer (The Ghost, in the UK), starring Ewan McGregor and Pierce Brosnan, with screenplay written by Polanski and Robert Harris, is, of course, based on Harris’s novel.

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top image: Wikipedia

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Carl Andre – “A thing is a hole in a thing it is not.” – Grand Minimalism

Posted by the editors on Monday, 18 July 2011

‘War and Rumours of War’ (2002) by Carl Andre

“For Carl Andre, Less is Still Less”, by Randy Kennedy in the Art & Design section of The New York Times, looks at the rigorously minimal, demanding, and wonderful work (and, glancingly, at the life) of the great minimalist artist Carl Andre, in the context of the publication of a maximalist survey of his 50-year career by Phaidon (“Carl Andre: Things in Their Elements” (Phaidon Press)) and an upcoming (2013) retrospective of his work at Dia:Beacon. We have all (one hopes) had, over the decades, the good luck to appreciate Mr. Andre’s work (perhaps even at the, frankly iconic, and always dynamic, Paula Cooper Gallery in NYC); though many like Judd‘s work (we love it), and some think of Serra (we love Serra’s work as well), Carl Andre is certainly what may be called a minimalist’s minimalist: Maximal. Magnificent.  Material.

Very good slide show, here, with images from the excellent new book published by Phaidon, “Carl Andre: Things in Their Elements”.

Inspiring interactive multimedia look, entitled “His horizontal life”, at three of Carl Andre’s pieces with commentary by Randy Kennedy, here.

image: From ‘Carl Andre: Things in Their Elements’ (Phaidon Press); Carl Andre/Licensed by VAGA, New York; courtesy of Tom Powel/Paula Cooper/The New York Times

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Underworld

Posted by the editors on Sunday, 26 June 2011

Cover to the first edition

Underworld by Don DeLillo, first edition cover

Underworld (1997) (novel) by Don DeLillo (White Noise (1985), Cosmopolis (2003),  Falling Man (2007), Point Omega (2010)  This magnificent and complex post-modern novel with its rich abundance of intertwined themes, from baseball to radioactive waste, from family, and love, to J. Edgar Hoover, from Jesuits to the Mafia, to name but a few, is, quite simply, essential reading. DeLillo’s superb sensitivity to language, and to the construction of honestly beautiful sentences and dialogue, make Underworld, and its ambiguous and sinister music of the spheres, an enduring, moving, thought-provoking pleasure. (PR)

See also our review of DeLillo’s 2010 novel Point Omega, here.

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The Wild Things, by Dave Eggers

Posted by the editors on Monday, 25 April 2011

The Wild Things, by Dave Eggers

The Wild Things (2009) (novel) by Dave Eggers (A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (2000), You Shall Know Our Velocity (2002), What Is the What: The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng (2006)).  The Wild Things is the novelisation of the screenplay, co-written by Eggers and Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich (1999)), of the film Where the Wild Things Are (2009), directed by Jonze; the screenplay being based, of course, on the classic children’s book Where the Wild Things Are (1963) written and illustrated by Maurice Sendak.

Sendak’s book, a scant 300 words and 18 illustrations, aside from its sensitivity to the powerlessness often felt by children in this world already sadly daunting for adults, owes much of its success to its openess, permitting each young reader the liberty to flesh out the details in ways that best suit him or her.  Eggers’ novelisation, on the other hand, in its detail, reduces just this openess to such an extent that the result is not only disappointing, but even rather boring, petty and banal, and this despite Eggers’ usual gift for, shall we call it, literary velocity.

Where the Wild Things Are

Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak

image: Wikipedia

Nevertheless, we do heartily recommend Eggers’ three other works, cited above, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (2000), You Shall Know Our Velocity (2002), What Is the What: The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng (2006), all of which are well worth reading. (PR)

We recommend that you buy your books.  Have a wonderful personal library.

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Changing My Mind – Occasional Essays, by Zadie Smith

Posted by the editors on Sunday, 24 April 2011

Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays ustrated]

 Changing My Mind – Occasional Essays by Zadie Smith

Changing My Mind – Occasional Essays (2009) (Collection of essays) by Zadie Smith (White Teeth (2000), The Autograph Man (2002), On Beauty (2005), and numerous essays for The Guardian, The New Yorker and other newspapers and magazines).

With essays on Hepburn and Garbo, to David Foster Wallace, from an Academy Award weekend in Los Angeles to E.M. Forster, Roland Barthes, Vladimir Nabokov, Tom McCarthy and a great deal more, and with a tone from travel documentary to insightful literary analysis, and most everything in between, Zadie Smith has offered us the opportunity to see how her mind works, and how she not only permits herself to change it, but even makes that her motto, shall we say.  There’s some very good writing here, and some, on the other hand, a bit difficult to get through, but well worth the effort required.  Smith can be extraordinarily perceptive, subtle, keen, as well as, perhaps, naively hopeful, even silly, and that, in itself, is marvelous and refreshing, intellectually challenging and agreeably human.

Her long essay on David Foster Wallace, entitled “Brief Interviews with Hideous Men: The Difficult Gifts of David Foster Wallace” is honestly excellent. (PR)

See our previous post on Zadie Smith, David Foster Wallace and Tom McCarthy, entitled “The Last Audit – Review of David Foster Wallace’s “The Pale King” by Tom McCarthy“, here.

Smith prefaces her book, which is dedicated to her father, with the two following quotes:

“The time to make your mind up about people is never!” (Tracy Lord, played by Katherine Hepburn, in The Philadelphia Story (1940), also starring Cary Grant and James Stewart; directed by George Cukor.)

“You get to decide what to worship.”  (David Foster Wallace)

Pankaj Mishra’s review of Changing My Mind – Occasional Essays, entitled “Other Voices, Other Selves” in the Sunday Book Review section of The New York Times, here.

Peter Conrad’s review of Smith’s book in The Guardian is aptly titled “Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays by Zadie Smith” and is found, here.

We recommend that you buy your books.  Have a wonderful personal library.

image: Wikipedia

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Posted in Book Reviews, culture, Education, film, General, Language, Links, Literature, Nothing Is Invisible, nothingisinvisible, publishing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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