Nothing Is Invisible

……….Cultural Kaleidoscopy………..

Posts Tagged ‘Short Stories’

* Book Review: Pulse by Julian Barnes

Posted by the editors on Sunday, 29 January 2012

Book Review: Pulse (2011)(collection of short stories) by Julian Barnes (Flaubert’s Parrot (1984, shortlisted for the Booker Prize), England, England (1998, shortlisted for the Booker Prize), Arthur & George (2005, shortlisted for the Booker Prize), The Sense of an Ending (2011, winner of the Booker Prize).  Pulse is a collection of wonderful short stories taking the pulse of couples, and in which couples are the pulse, the life blood.  From parents, to newly weds, to first dates, to esoteric historical, from sharp, well-to-do couples, to once-hippie aging couples, to ’til-death-do-us-part couples, to couples divorcing within a year of marriage, from hetero to homo, from love to sex, from complicity to antagonism, from no-strings to all things, Pulse throws its net wide, not that there aren’t an infinity of couples outside of the net, each being, by definition unique, and unfathomable, no matter what we know.  In fact, what is love?  And, to paraphrase and twist, a bit, Raymond Carver, what (don’t) we talk about when we (don’t) talk about love; pain, fun, sharing, loss, thrill, support, tenderness and grief. A must-read for anyone who is, was, or will be part of a couple, or ever wished, or regretted, that they were part of a couple.  And for those solitaries who just wonder about it all.  Marvelous, thoughtful, entertaining and more. (PR)

See our post on the collection of short stories by Raymond Carver, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.

We recommend that you buy you books.  Have a wonderful personal library..  Here are links to

top image: The Guardian

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Oh What a Paradise It Seems

Posted by the editors on Thursday, 3 November 2011

Oh What a Paradise It Seems (Novel) (1982) by John Cheever (The Wapshot Chronicle (1957), Bullet Park (1969, Falconer (1977), The Stories of John Cheever  (1978))   This slim novel, more of a novella, in fact, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning John Cheever‘s last work, though published nearly 30 years ago, deals with many themes unfortunately very much of today:  Pollution, forced migration, terrorism, corruption, old age, and, above all, a rootlessness tinged with an almost genetic memory of  “how it used to be”, almost “Walden Pond-esque”, marching to a different drummer, all with a contemporary sense of ambiguity.  Oh What a Paradise It Seems is not perfect; it is even, at times, a bit fragmented, but Cheever’s sense of word and phrase, of tenderness and irony, makes it a novel that one simply must read. (PR) “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life..”  (Henry David ThoreauWalden (originally published as “Walden; or, Life in the Woods”), (1854))

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Beginners – What We Talk About When We Talk About Love

Posted by the editors on Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Beginners by Raymond Carver

Beginners (collection of short stories) (2009) by Raymond Carver    Beginners is the manuscript edition of the masterful short story writer Raymond Carver’s collection of stories What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, originally published in 1981.  Published by Carver’s wife and widow, Tess Gallagher, in 2009 (Carver himself died in 1988 at the age of 50), Beginners contains the original versions of the stories in WWTAWWTAL, prior to the rather drastic editing by Gordon Lish, Carver’s editor at Knopf.  The stories in Beginners, wonderful and sad, often lost in questions of love, family and life, and most always steeped in abundant alcohol, could be considered Dirty Realism, much as the work of John Fante (see our post on The Bandini Quartet), though much of Fante’s work predates the “movement” per se. (PR)

What We Talk About When We Talk About Love by Raymond Carver

large images: Vintage Books, Knopf/Wikipedia

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The Last Bachelor

Posted by the editors on Monday, 11 July 2011

The Last Bachelor by Jay McInerney

The Last Bachelor (collection of short stories) (2009) by Jay McInerney (Bright Lights, Big City (1984), Brightness Falls (1992), The Good Life (2006))   The Last Bachelor, McInerney’s latest collection of stories, still pursues pleasure, most notably sexual pleasure, though this time with a dose of pain, guilt and anxiety. (PR)

top image: Bloomsbury

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The Bandini Quartet – John Fante

Posted by the editors on Friday, 1 July 2011

Ask the Dust, by John Fante

image: Wikipedia

The Bandini Quartet (novels) (1938-1985) by John Fante  The Bandini Quartet is a collection of four novels by John Fante: Wait Until Spring, Bandini (1938), The Road to Los Angeles (1985), Ask the Dust (1939) and Dreams From Bunker Hill (1982), written in a style which may be described as “dirty realism”, and featuring the life and tribulations of first generation Italian-American Arturo Bandini, from young adolescent to disillusioned novelist, short story writer and Hollywood screenwriter.  Boisterous, touching, sharp.  As The New York Times has written, “Either the work of John Fante is unknown to you or it is unforgettable.  He is not the kind of writer to leave room in between.” (Each novel is also available separately)(PR)

David Foster Wallace readers may note that in his 1987 novel The Broom of the System Lavache ‘Stoney’ Beadsman has a wooden leg with a hidden drawer in which he keeps marijuana cigarettes and other illegal substances. Ch. 4 of Ask the Dust refers to a character named Benny Cohen who, “had a wooden leg with a little door in it. Inside the door were marijuana cigarets. He sold them for fifteen cents apiece.”

See our previous posts on David Foster Wallace: The Last Audit – Review of David Foster Wallace’s “The Pale King” by Tom McCarthy, A Self-Help Reader for David Foster Wallace, The Pale King – David Foster Wallace & the Staggering, Multifarious, Cacophonous Predicament, David Foster Wallace – Piecing Together a Posthumous Novel, The Pale King

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