Nothing Is Invisible

……….Cultural Kaleidoscopy………..

Posts Tagged ‘The Guardian’

* Books: Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson

Posted by the editors on Saturday, 18 February 2012

Books: Started Early, Took My Dog (2010) by Kate Atkinson (Behind the Scenes at the Museum (1995), Human Croquet (1997)).  This crime novel, part thoughtful travelogue, of loves and losses, follows semi-retired private investigator Jackson Brodie as he attempts to trace, through the good, bad old days and the precariously, obliquely good, bad new days, the origins of a client, adopted a young age.  More than touching on a diversity of themes: of adoption, of dogs that belonged to women, of shockingly, rashly, bought children, of kidnapped, history-less children, of forcibly orphaned children; of adaptation to ever-changing circumstances, and glimpses of true, and erroneous, self-knowledge; confusion of names; childhood, the good, and, so often, the bad, the thwarted, the difficult and the ugly; parents and children and families in all their stifled hope, errors, lies, and miscommunications; not to mention inspiring, uplifting, dark and hopeful poetry; and of course, crime, with its police, private investigators, cover-ups, murders, power and money.  Sounds like a lot?  It is.  But with Atkinson’s deft, even tender touch, and her sensitive portrayals, Started Early, Took My Dog, is an easy, captivating novel, and a very agreeable, if at times brutal, read. (PR)

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top image:  The Guardian

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Posted in Book Reviews, Books, Fiction, General, Literature, Nothing Is Invisible, nothingisinvisible | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

* 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 amazon.com:

top image: The Guardian

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Posted in Book Reviews, Books, culture, Fiction, General, Language, Literature | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Heliopolis

Posted by the editors on Sunday, 20 November 2011

Heliopolis (2009)(Novel)  by James Scudamore (Amnesia Clinic (2007))    Heliopolis, firstly, is not a science fiction or fantasy novel; in fact, the novel is named after one of the favelas in Sao Paolo, Brazil, and is the story of one young paulistano‘s adventures through contemporary Sao Paolo’s exotic cuisine, dense pollution, denser traffic, and extremes of urban poverty and wealth in his search for identity.  Scudamore has a deft touch for sensory description, be it food or environment, that is a pleasure to read.  Yet Heliopolis, his second novel, and long-listed for the 2009 Booker Prize, seems wanting: though the characters are interesting, their relationships are inadequatelydeveloped and the plot seems shallow and too “neatly” treated. (PR)

We recommend that you buy your books.  Have a wonderful personal library..   Here is a link to amazon.com:

top image: The Guardian

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There but for the, by Ali Smith

Posted by the editors on Thursday, 20 October 2011

There but for the (2011)(Novel) by Ali Smith (Hotel World (2001; shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction and the Man Booker Prize for Fiction), The Accidental (2005, shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, the Orange Prize for Fiction, and won the 2005 Whitbread Novel of the Year award ) and others, including many short stories)   Ali Smith’s There but for the, a sharp, lively, immensely enjoyable and wordplay-filled observation of contemporary culture, full of its “temporary permanence” and “absent presence”, takes shape from the juxtaposed and obliquely interwoven stories of a number of “acquaintances” of Miles Garth, a man invited by a friend of a friend to a dinner party from which he never leaves.  Funny, sad, satirical, light and deep, replete with sharp observations (the internet is “a whole new way of feeling lonely“, among many others) and cultural questions (“What are stories for?“), it pays to keep in mind that Smith is, above all, not “trying to preposition you.” Wonderful reading. (PR)

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

top image: The Guardian

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When Art & Energy were Dancing on the Rooftops in New York – Laurie Anderson, Gordon Matta-Clark & Trisha Brown

Posted by the editors on Friday, 29 April 2011

Trisha Brown’s “Roof Piece,” (1973), depicting dancers on adjacent rooftops

Michael Kimmelman has written “When Art and Energy Were SoHo Neighbors” in the Art & Design section of The New York Times, which looks at New York’s Soho, in the 1970s, with its extraordinary, vibrant artistic energy, and some of the truly inspired “lean times” work of the choreographer Trisha Brown, the artist Gordon Matta-Clark, and the performance artist Laurie Anderson and includes some wonderful photos as well as a brief, but poignant interview with Anderson.  All this in the context of the show at the Barbican Art Gallery entitled “Laurie Anderson, Trisha Brown, Gordon Matta-Clark – Pioneers of the Downtown Scene New York 1970s” (through 22 May 2011) which includes sculptures, drawings, photographs, documentation of performances and mixed media works, and which The Guardian has called simply a “brilliant exhibition”.

Here’s what the Barbican has to say about the exhibition:

Performance artist and musician Laurie Anderson, choreographer Trisha Brown and artist Gordon Matta-Clark were friends and active participants in the New York art community, working fluidly between visual art and performance.

With the city as their backdrop, canvas, stage and inspiration, this exhibition is the first major presentation to examine the experimental and often daring approaches taken by these three key figures, both individually and collectively, in the burgeoning arts scene in downtown New York during the 1970s.

New York City provided a powerful context for the work of Anderson, Brown and Matta-Clark. On the verge of bankruptcy in the 1970s, the disappearance of manufacturing and other major industries and the withdrawal of public services were turning the city into a centre of widespread unemployment and lawlessness. Artists responded by taking over derelict spaces to make and exhibit their work, by using the city itself as the medium or setting for their work, by creating opportunities to engage directly with the public out of doors and by building a vibrant arts community.

Gordon Matta-Clark, Open House, 1972

Kimmelman offers some perceptive observations regarding the art scene, then and now, including an astute, if sadly true, comparison of the 70s New York downtown art scene and the current “art scene” style of contemporary Berlin.  Economics, certainly; motivation, aspiration, inspiration, even more so…

 images: top, Babette Mangolte/The New York Times; bottom, courtesy Jane Crawford. © Estate of Cosmos Andress Sarchiapone. © 2010 Estate of Gordon Matta- Clark/ Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, DACS London

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