Winner of the American Literary Translators Association 2010 National Translation Award
Petra Hůlová became an overnight sensation when All This Belongs to Me was originally published in Czech in 2002, when the author was just twenty three years old. She has since established herself as one of the most exciting young novelists in Europe today. Writings from an Unbound Europeis proud to publish the first translation of her work in English.
All This Belongs to Me chronicles the lives of three generations of women in a Mongolian family. Told from the point of view of a mother, three sisters, and the daughter of one of the sisters, this story of secrets and betrayals takes us from the daily rhythms of nomadic life on the steppe to the harsh realities of urban alcoholism and prostitution in the capital, Ulaanbaatar. All This Belongs to Me is a sweeping family saga that showcases Hůlová'sgenius.
In the decades preceding the Stonewall riots—in the wake of the 1948 publication of Alfred Kinsey’s controversial report on male sexuality and in the midst of a cold war culture of suspicion and paranoia—discussions of homosexuality within the New York art world necessarily circulated via gossip and rumor. Between You and Me explores this informal, everyday talk and how it shaped artists’ lives, their work, and its reception. Revealing the “trivial” and “unserious” aspects of the postwar art scene as key to understanding queer subjectivity, Gavin Butt argues for a richer, more expansive concept of historical evidence, one that supplements the verifiable facts of traditional historical narrative with the gossipy fictions of sexual curiosity.
Focusing on the period from 1948 to 1963, Butt draws on the accusations and denials of homosexuality that appeared in the popular press, on early homophile publications such as One and the Mattachine Review, and on biographies, autobiographies, and interviews. In a stunning exposition of Larry Rivers’s work, he shows how Rivers incorporated gossip into his paintings, just as his friend and lover Frank O’Hara worked it into his poetry. He describes how the stories about Andy Warhol being too “swish” to be taken seriously as an artist changed following his breakthrough success, reconstructing him as an asexual dandy. Butt also speculates on the meanings surrounding a MoMA curator’s refusal in 1958 to buy Jasper Johns’s Target with Plaster Casts on the grounds that it was too scandalous for the museum to acquire. Between You and Me sheds new light on a pivotal moment in American cultural production as it signals new directions for art history.
The Buffalo, Ben, and Me
Todd Parnell & Foreword by Jim Baker University of Missouri Press, 2007 Library of Congress CT275.P354A3 2007 | Dewey Decimal 976.7053092
The Buffalo River in northwest Arkansas is one of the longest free-flowing, undammed rivers west of the Mississippi—and one of the most beautiful waterways on earth. Almost lost to development, it proved to be the perfect testing ground for a young boy almost lost to mediocrity.
Middle-schooler Ben is struggling with learning challenges that have left him resentful and underachieving. His father, middle-ager Todd, wants to help his son gain self-confidence but is searching for his own identity. For twelve adventure-filled days on the river—all 125 miles of her navigable course, from Ponca to the White River—father and son discover the formative, curative, and redemptive powers of nature.
Leaving video games and cell phones behind isn’t easy for kids these days, but in the great outdoors parents and youngsters can connect in unimaginable ways. The Buffalo, Ben, and Me shares such a connection in an adventure story set on a wild river. It is a captivating tale featuring a host of colorful characters and enlivened by photos that reflect the essence of the wilderness.
But deeper than that, it is the story of crossing a threshold from dream to possibility—of one man’s search for meaning in his life and his efforts to motivate his son, blending love of family with love of nature in a tale of transformation. It tells how a rebellious teen and a bored banker conspired to buck a system keyed to predictability, and how a wild river inspired both to a better use of their lives. “This trip hit me as hard as it did Ben,” writes Parnell, “as a wake-up call to life, to what is important, to what is not.”
The trip down the Buffalo was one that even Ben admits changed his life in more ways than one, as he later went on to earn a master of science degree specializing in stream ecology. For any reader who loves the outdoors—and especially those seeking to connect with their children—The Buffalo, Ben, and Me is essential reading that reminds us of possibilities to be had in facing life head-on as it raises awareness of the need to protect the Ozarks’ water resources and heritage.
Each day Burt Wheeler is plagued by the same question. When did it happen? If he could pinpoint the beginning, then he might begin to make peace with himself. He vividly remembers when the doctor diagnosed Kee, his loving wife of over fifty years, with "Alzheimer-type dementia." But, as hard as he tries, it's impossible for him to determine when his wife's dementia started. He remembers her bout with depression, but that, he thinks, was surely due to her breast cancer. There was their dream vacation to Greece when Kee seemed so tired and indifferent. There were the unopened books, when reading had always been such a source of pleasure to her. And, he recalls, the gradual personality changes with friends, and even with family.
Wheeler started writing this book as a form of self-therapy when he found himself thrust into the role of caretaker to his wife--a role for which he felt unprepared. He wrote in memory of the very special woman his wife had been—a wonderful mother, charming and gracious, as well as a deeply respected psychotherapist. She was also his best friend, and he loved her. So, to some degree, this is a love story—a story about two people who have shared life's ups and downs for over fifty years. It's also about commitment.
In Close to Me, but Far Away, Wheeler provides insight into what a caregiver's day is like, as he shares his most intimate thoughts with us. The book provides a window into the author's personal life as he seeks to confront his own ineptitude and the occasional despair he feels as he deals daily with Alzheimer's. He also touches on the question of what keeps him going through times of exhaustion and frustration. Part of his answer lies in holding tenaciously to memories, and part lies in what he believes is a human's extraordinary capacity to continue plodding along simply because he must. Wheeler also believes in rejoicing in the beauty that can be experienced, and he believes in humor, humor achieved only by distancing ourselves from the events that so deeply engage us. And, of course, there is also the indefinable nature of love.
Alzheimer's is a terrifying and horrible disease, as much for loved ones as for the patient. Those who are caregivers or friends of Alzheimer's patients or caregivers will empathize with Burton Wheeler's story. And some might receive comfort from his words or learn from him. Because Alzheimer's is a disease that could affect anyone, Close to Me, but Far Away is a story that should be read by all.
Opinionated talk show host and columnist Michael Smerconish has been chronicling local, state, and national events for the Philadelphia Daily News and the Philadelphia Inquirer for more than 15 years. He has sounded off on topics as diverse as the hunt for Osama bin Laden and what the color of your Christmas lights says about you. In this collection of 100 of his most memorable columns, Smerconish reflects on American political life with his characteristic feistiness. A new Afterword for each column provides updates on both facts and feelings, indicating how the author has evolved over the years, moving from a reliable Republican voter to a political Independent.
Clowns to the Left of Me, Jokers to the Right covers the post-9/11 years, Barack Obama’s ascension, and the rise of Donald Trump. Smerconish describes meeting Ronald Reagan, having dinner with Fidel Castro, barbequing with the band YES in his backyard, spending the same night with Pete Rose and Ted Nugent, drinking champagne from the Stanley Cup, and conducting Bill Cosby’s only pretrial interview. He also writes about local Philadelphia culture, from Sid Mark to the Rizzo statue.
Smerconish’s outlook as expressed in these impassioned opinion pieces goes beyond “liberal” or “conservative.” His thought process continues to evolve and change, and as it does, he aims to provoke readers to do the same.
All author proceeds benefit the Children’s Crisis Treatment Center,a Philadelphia- based, private, nonprofit agency that provides behavioral health services to children and their families.
Come Walk with Me: The Art of Dorris Curtis has enormous appeal both as a memoir and as a collection of wonderful paintings. Dorris Curtis, like Grandma Moses, began painting at a late age. She worked as a school teacher for over forty years and upon retirement at the age of sixty-five, began to study art. Curtis looked up to Grandma Moses and was heavily influenced by her achievements. This book includes 103 images of Curtis’s artwork, each with an extended caption, as well as an introduction by Robert Cochran which places Curtis’s art into the larger context of both Arkansas art and American folk art as a whole. Dorris Curtis began painting at the age of sixty-five. Since her start in 1973, Curtis’s work has been exhibited in Chicago and Washington, D.C., and she has appeared as a guest on the PBS series American Art Forum. Curtis recently donated her entire collection to the University of Central Arkansas.
Of all the great ballplayers to wear Yankee pinstripes, Elston Howard was among the proudest. Remarkable temperament and courage made him the Jackie Robinson of baseball's most storied franchise. No Yankee carried himself with more dignity. No Yankee had greater respect for his teammates or love for his wife and family. And no one loved being a Yankee more than Elston Howard.
In Elston and Me, Howard's widow, Arlene, and coauthor Ralph Wimbish recall the life of the first black to play baseball for the New York Yankees. Howard, who played fourteen major-league seasons, was signed by the Yankees in 1950, but the reluctance of the Yankee organization to break the color barrier held Howard back from the major leagues until 1955 when he was twenty-six years old.
By 1961, the year he batted .348 for the Yankees, Elston had become the everyday catcher. Voted the American League's Most Valuable Player in 1963, Howard was a three-time Gold Glove winner, and his fielding average of the same year remains one of the highest among catchers in major-league history.
In 1967, with the Yankee dynasty in decay, Elston was traded to the Boston Red Sox, although Yankee management had promised him that he would finish his career in pinstripes. After contemplating retirement, he moved to Boston late that season and helped the Red Sox win the "Impossible Dream" pennant. After one more season with the Red Sox, he returned to the Yankees as the first black coach in the American League. Howard died at the age of fifty-one without fulfilling his dream of becoming baseball's first black manager.
Beginning with Howard's early years as a St. Louis teenager, the book relates his encounters with racism and his love of baseball. He began his professional career for the legendary Negro League team the Kansas City Monarchs. His three decades with the New York Yankees include numerous anecdotes about fellow Yankee legends such as Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford, and Yogi Berra. With countless personal moments and never-before- published photographs and clippings from family albums, Elston and Me is the touching story of one of baseball's great players.
Jaime Manrique weaves into his own memoir the lives of three important twentieth-century Hispanic writers: the Argentine Manuel Puig, author of Kiss of the Spider Woman; the Cuban Reinaldo Arenas, author of Before Night Falls; and Spanish poet and playwright Federico García Lorca. Manrique celebrates the lives of these heroic writers who were made outcasts for both their homosexuality and their politics.
"Manrique's double vision yields insights into Puig, Arenas, and Lorca unavailable to a writer less attuned to the complex interplay of culture and sexuality, as well as that of race and class in Latino and Anglo societies."—George DeStefano, The Nation
"A splendid memoir of Manuel Puig. It evokes him—how he really was—better than anything I've read."—Susan Sontag
"Where Manrique's tale differs from others is in its unabashed and sensitive treatment of sexuality. One reads his autobiographical account with pleasure and fascination."—Jose Quiroga, George Washington University
"Manrique's voice is wise, brave, and wholly original. This chronicle of self-discovery and literary encounters is heartening and deep."—Kennedy Fraser
"In this charmingly indiscreet memoir, Jaime Manrique writes with his customary humor and warm sympathy, engaging our delighted interest on every page. He has the rare gift of invoking and inviting intimacy, in this case a triangulated intimacy between himself, his readers, and his memories. These are rich double portraits."—Phillip Lopate
In Entre Nous Grant Farred examines the careers of international football stars Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, along with his own experience playing for an amateur township team in apartheid South Africa, to theorize the relationship between sports and the intertwined experiences of relation, separation, and belonging. Drawing on Jean-Luc Nancy's concept of relation and Heideggerian ontology, Farred outlines how various relationships—the significantly different relationships Messi has with his club team FC Barcelona and the Argentine national team; Farred's shifting modes of relation as he moved between his South African team and his Princeton graduate student team; and Suarez's deep bond with Uruguay's national team coach Oscar Tabarez—demonstrate the ways the politics of relation both exist within and transcend sports. Farred demonstrates that approaching sports philosophically offers particularly insightful means of understanding the nature of being in the world, thereby opening new paths for exploring how the self is constituted in its relation to the other.
Taking its inspiration from Sanders’s own autobiography Memoirs of a Professional Cad (1960), this book is part witty, bawdy, and irreverent memoir, part moving meditation on the price of fame; like most of David Slavitt’s work, it defies easy categorization.In George Sanders, Zsa Zsa, and Me, Slavittlooks back to his career as a film critic in the glamorous—at least superficially—world of 1950s Hollywood, when he traveled in circles that included the talented British actor George Sanders (1906–1972) and his then-wife, Zsa Zsa Gabor, who was talented at, well, being famous.
Sanders, who seemed to maintain an ironic detachment from roles that were often beneath him, nonetheless couldn’t bear the decline of his later years and committed suicide at the age of sixty-five. Darkly humorous to the end, his note read, "Dear World, I am leaving because I am bored. I feel I have lived long enough. I am leaving you with your worries in this sweet cesspool. Good luck." Zsa Zsa, on the other hand, remains in the headlines (with her dubiously named husband Frédéric Prinz von Anhalt) at age ninety-two. Although he punctuates his story with witty asides—the author’s encounter with Marilyn Monroe is particularly memorable—Slavitt turns a critic’s eye toward questions of talent and art, while also tackling the difficult and universal questions of aging, relationships, and mortality.
For readers of Elena Ferrante, Nicole Krauss, and Carmen Maria Machado, In Other Lifetimes All I’ve Lost Comes Back to Me is a braided story collection that invokes the real, surreal, and mythic to explore the longings and loneliness of contemporary love.
Populated with lovers who leave and return, with ghosts of the Holocaust and messages from the dead, Courtney Sender’s debut collection speaks in a singular new voice about the longings and loneliness of contemporary love. The world of these fourteen interlocking stories is fiercely real but suffused with magic and myth, dark wit, and distinct humor. Here, ancient loss works its way deep into the psyche of modern characters, stirring their unrelenting lust for life.
In “To Do With the Body,” the Museum of Period Clothes becomes the perfect setting for a bloody crime. In “Lilith in God’s Hands,” Adam’s first wife has an affair in the Garden of Eden. And in the title story, a woman spends her life waiting for any of the men who have left her to come back, only to find them all at her doorstep at once.
For readers of Elena Ferrante, Nicole Krauss, and Carmen Maria Machado, and for anyone who has known love and loneliness, In Other Lifetimes All I’ve Lost Comes Back to Me is a wise and sensual collection of old hauntings, new longings, and unexpected returns, with a finale that is a rousing call to the strength we each have, together or alone.
“All these white schools I’ve been sent to are racist,” Sonya says. “I’d have done better in a black school. I was an outsider here.” These are hard words for Vivian Paley, whose own kindergarten was one of Sonya’s schools, the integrated classroom so lovingly and hopefully depicted by Paley in White Teacher. Confronted with the grown-up Sonya, now on her way to a black college, and with a chorus of voices questioning the fairness and effectiveness of integrated education, Paley sets out to discover the truth about the multicultural classroom from those who participate in it. This is an odyssey undertaken on the wings of conversation and storytelling in which every voice adds new meaning to the idea of belonging, really belonging, to a school culture. Here are black teachers and minority parents, immigrant families, a Native American educator, and the children themselves, whose stories mingle with the author’s to create a candid picture of the successes and failures of the integrated classroom. As Paley travels the country listening to these stories, we see what lies behind recent moves toward self-segregation: an ongoing frustration with racism as well as an abiding need for a nurturing community. And yet, among these diverse voices, we hear again and again the shared dream of a classroom where no family heritage is obscured and every child’s story enriches the life of the schoolhouse.
“It’s all about dialogue, isn’t it?” asks Lorraine, a black third-grade teacher whose story becomes a central motif. And indeed, it is the dialogue that prevails in this warmly provocative and deeply engaging book, as parents and teachers learn how they must talk to each other, and to their children, if every child is to secure a sense of self in the schoolroom, no matter what the predominant ethnic background. Vivian Paley offers these discoveries to readers as a starting point for their own journeys toward community and kinship in today’s schools and tomorrow’s culture.
WINNER OF THE ELIZABETH AGEE PRIZE IN AMERICAN LITERATURE
A scholar accompanies Twain on his journey around the world
In Mark Twain, the World, and Me: “Following the Equator,” Then and Now, Susan K. Harris follows Twain’s last lecture tour as he wound his way through the British Empire in 1895–1896. Deftly blending history, biography, literary criticism, reportage, and travel memoir, Harris gives readers a unique take on one of America’s most widely studied writers.
Structured as a series of interlocking essays written in the first person, this engaging volume draws on Twain’s insights into the histories and cultures of Australia, India, and South Africa and weaves them into timely reflections on the legacies of those countries today. Harris offers meditations on what Twain’s travels mean for her as a scholar, a white woman, a Jewish American, a wife, and a mother. By treating topics as varied as colonial rule, the clash between indigenous and settler communities, racial and sexual “inbetweenness,” and species decimation, Harris reveals how the world we know grew out of the colonial world Twain encountered. Her essays explore issues of identity that still trouble us today: respecting race and gender, preserving nature, honoring indigenous peoples, and respecting religious differences.
An energetic Hopi woman emerges from a traditional family background to embrace the more conventional way of life in American today. Enchanting and enlightening—a rare piece of primary source anthropology.
The last sixteen years of James Baldwin's life (1971–87) unfolded in a village in the South of France, in a sprawling house nicknamed “Chez Baldwin.” In Me and My House Magdalena J. Zaborowska employs Baldwin’s home space as a lens through which to expand his biography and explore the politics and poetics of blackness, queerness, and domesticity in his complex and underappreciated later works. Zaborowska shows how the themes of dwelling and black queer male sexuality in The Welcome Table, Just above My Head, and If Beale Street Could Talk directly stem from Chez Baldwin's influence on the writer. The house was partially torn down in 2014. Accessible, heavily illustrated, and drawing on interviews with Baldwin's friends and lovers, unpublished letters, and manuscripts, Me and My House offers new insights into Baldwin's life, writing, and relationships, making it essential reading for all students, scholars, and fans of Baldwin.
And so, a new chapter in the life of Richard J. Codey, an undertaker's son born and bred in the Garden State, began on the night of August 12, 2004--he knew from that point his life would never be the same . . . and it hasn't been. His memoir is a breezy, humorous, perceptive, and candid chronicle of local and state government from a man who lived among political movers and shakers for more than three decades. Codey became governor of New Jersey, succeeding James McGreevey, who resigned following a homosexual affair--a shattering scandal and set of circumstances that were bizarre, even for the home state of the Sopranos. At once a political autobiography, filled with lively, incisive anecdotes that record how Codey restored respectability and set a record for good politics and good government in a state so often tarnished, this is also the story about a man and his family.
A timely and incisive assessment of what the success of populism means for democracy.
Populist movements have recently appeared in nearly every democracy around the world. Yet our grasp of this disruptive political phenomenon remains woefully inadequate. Politicians of all stripes appeal to the interests of the people, and every opposition party campaigns against the current establishment. What, then, distinguishes populism from run-of-the-mill democratic politics? And why should we be concerned by its rise?
In Me the People, Nadia Urbinati argues that populism should be regarded as a new form of representative government, one based on a direct relationship between the leader and those the leader defines as the “good” or “right” people. Populist leaders claim to speak to and for the people without the need for intermediaries—in particular, political parties and independent media—whom they blame for betraying the interests of the ordinary many. Urbinati shows that, while populist governments remain importantly distinct from dictatorial or fascist regimes, their dependence on the will of the leader, along with their willingness to exclude the interests of those deemed outside the bounds of the “good” or “right” people, stretches constitutional democracy to its limits and opens a pathway to authoritarianism.
Weaving together theoretical analysis, the history of political thought, and current affairs, Me the People presents an original and illuminating account of populism and its relation to democracy.
More and more Americans find themselves in some way touched by the opioid epidemic. But while many have observed the effects of the crisis, Not Far from Me: Stories of Opioids and Ohio is the first book on this public health emergency composed entirely of first-person accounts. The collection unfolds across fifty gripping accounts by Ohioans at the center of the national epidemic. Shared through personal stories, poetry, interviews, and photos, these perspectives transcend typical one-dimensional portrayals of the crisis to offer a mosaic of how politics, religion, sports, economics, culture, race, and sexual orientation intersect in and around the epidemic.
Themes of pain and healing, despair and hope are woven throughout accounts of families who have lost loved ones to addiction, stories of survival, and experiences of working on the front lines in communities. In an attempt to give every voice the chance to be heard, Not Far from Me features contributors from across the state as they engage with the pain of opioid abuse and overdose, as well as the hope that personal- and community-level transformation brings. Ultimately, Not Far from Me humanizes the battle against addiction, challenges the stigma surrounding drug users, and unflinchingly faces the reality of the American opioid epidemic.
In this entertaining collection of essays, Wayne Booth looks for the much-maligned “middle ground” for reason—a rhetoric that can unite truths of the heart with truths of the head and allow us all to discover shared convictions in mutual inquiry. First delivered as lectures in the 1960s, when Booth was a professor at Earlham College and the University of Chicago, Now Don’t Try to Reason with Me still resounds with anyone struggling for consensus in a world of us versus them.
“Professor Booth’s earnestness is graced by wit, irony, and generous humor.”—Louis Coxe, New Republic
Shine on Me: A Novel
A. G. Mojtabai Northwestern University Press, 2016 Library of Congress PS3563.O374S54 2016 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
The rules are simple enough: “Here’s the deal: Whoever keeps his hands longest on one of the dealer’s brand new pickup trucks owns it and gets to drive it away.” An actual contest hosted by an auto dealership in Texas is the prompt for this fictional exploration, which seeks to probe the depths and shallows of the American soul.
To the players vying for this shiny new prize, competition revs up as the hours wear on, positions harden, sightlines narrow, and sleep-deprivation intensifies. At the center is the reporter Trew Reade, struggling to make sense of the event and his own role in it. Early on, he muses that “surface and substance were rarely the same; transparency could be the most cunning of masks.” So, too, is the author’s transparent prose. Reviewers have sometimes found Mojtabai’s vision akin to that of Marilynne Robinson and Flannery O’Connor, but the characterization from Books & Culture—“not like anyone else”—is perhaps best, inviting readers to discover this provocative writer for themselves.
Hymns and hymnbooks as American historical and cultural icons.
This work is a study of the importance of Protestant hymns in defining America and American religion. It explores the underappreciated influence of hymns in shaping many spheres of personal and corporate life as well as the value of hymns for studying religious life. Distinguishing features of this volume are studies of the most popular hymns (“Amazing Grace,” “O, For a Thousand Tongues to Sing,” “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name”), with attention to the ability of such hymns to reveal, as they are altered and adapted, shifts in American popular religion. The book also focuses attention on the role hymns play in changing attitudes about race, class, gender, economic life, politics, and society.
Motivated by a love of her Mexican American heritage, Patricia Preciado Martin set out to document the lives and memories of the women of her mother's and grandmother's eras; for while the role of women in Southwest has begun to be chronicled, that of Hispanic women largely remains obscure. In Songs My Mother Sang to Me, she has preserved the oral histories of many of these women before they have been lost or forgotten.
Martin's quest took her to ranches, mining towns, and cities throughout southern Arizona, for she sought to document as varied an experience of the contributions of Mexican American women as possible. The interviews covered family history and genealogy, childhood memories, secular and religious traditions, education, work and leisure, environment and living conditions, rites of passage, and personal values. Each of the ten oral histories reflects not only the spontaneity of the interview and personality of each individual, but also the friendship that grew between Martin and her subjects.
Songs My Mother Sang to Me collects voices not often heard and brings to print accounts of social change never previously recorded. These women document more than the details of their own lives; in relating the histories of their ancestors and communities, they add to our knowledge of the culture and contributions of Mexican American people in the Southwest.
Speak to Me!
Marcia Forecki Gallaudet University Press, 1985
Winner Book Award President's Committee on Employment of the Handicapped
"This compelling true-life story deals with a single parent making the discovery that her 1 1/2-year-old son is deaf."
"With humor and openness she describes her denial of his deafness, her frustrations in dealing with family and experts, and her ultimate decision to put her son in a special school. Parents of all children will identify with both the joys and problems Forecki has experienced."
Marcia Calhoun Forecki has written an engrossing, personal account of her life with Charlie, an adorable, active, deaf seven-year-old. Speak to Me! is the story of an ordinary hearing person confronted with an overwhelming reality--the fact that her son is deaf. Forecki's struggle as a single parent to care for her child, to find the "right" schools, and to establish communication with her son will strike a familiar chord in all hearing parents of deaf children. All readers, parents or not, will be touched by the mixture of pathos and humor in this well-written account.
Marcia Calhoun Forecki is a former Spanish instructor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. At present, she resides and works in Council Bluffs, IA.
In this series of new poems Gail Mazur takes stock-of the complexity of relationships between parents and children, the desires of the body as well as its frailties, the distinctions between memory and history, and the hope of art to capture these seemingly inscrutable realities. By turns mordant and passionate, narrative and meditative, Mazur's poems imply that life, with all of its losses, triumphs, and abrasive intimacies, is far richer and more elaborately metaphorical than poetry can aspire to be-and yet her poems do affectingly recreate this reality. These illuminating poems are the work of an acclaimed poet at the top of her form.
The characters in Think of Me and I’ll Know, Anthony Varallo’s probing new collection of stories, face moments in which insight comes too late, or proves insufficient, often to humorous effect. The characters approach the edge of learning something about themselves or about their relationships with other people, only to be left with knowledge that is not particularly useful.Varallo ably captures the often confused and heartrending perspective of adolescents discovering the world, such as in "No One at All," in which an eleven-year-old boy comes to see that another boy, two years older, is something less than a reliable friend. The author also captures the complications of family dynamics, such as the three generations of women in the related stories "Lucky Us" and "Tragic Little Me." The stories in Think of Me and I’ll Know show that we are perhaps not much more comprehensible to ourselves than others are to us.
Maryse Condé is one of the best-known and most beloved French Caribbean literary voices. The author of more than twenty novels, she was shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize in 2015 and has long been recognized as a giant of black feminist literature. While Condé has previously published an autobiography of her childhood, What Is Africa to Me? tells for the first time the story of her early adult years in Africa—years formative not only for her, but also for African colonies appealing for their own independence.
What Is Africa to Me? traces the late 1950s to 1968, chronicling Condé’s life in Sékou Touré’s Guinea to her time in Kwame N’Krumah’s Ghana, where she rubbed shoulders with Malcolm X, Che Guevara, Julius Nyerere, and Maya Angelou. Accusations of subversive activity resulted in Condé’s deportation from Ghana. Settling down in Sénégal, Condé ended her African years with close friends in Dakar, including filmmakers, activists, and Haitian exiles, before putting down more permanent roots in Paris.
Condé’s story is more than one of political upheaval, however; it is also the story of a mother raising four children as she battles steep obstacles, of a Guadeloupean seeking her identity in Africa, and of a young woman searching for her freedom and vocation as a writer. What Is Africa to Me? is a searing portrait of a literary genius—it should not be missed.
You, Me, and the Violence
Catherine Taylor The Ohio State University Press, 2017 Library of Congress PS3620.A93583Y68 2017 | Dewey Decimal 814.6
“Things puppets can do to us: charm, deceive, captivate, fool, trick, remind, amuse, distract, bore, repulse, annoy, puzzle, transport, provoke, fascinate, stand in for, kill.” In You, Me, and the Violence, Catherine Taylor ponders the nature of personal and political autonomy, focusing on the surprising juxtaposition of puppetry and military drones. In a book at once politically significant and narratively engaging, Taylor blends genres to question the roles of individuals within society and expose the gritty and emotional underpinnings of the seemingly mechanical process of a remote soldier.
From conversations with her own brother about his military experiences to Punch and Judy, from the original tale of Pinocchio to the radio chatter of soldiers in active drone operation, Taylor writes about family, power, and the “theater” of war in a voice both sly and sobering, heartbreaking and hopeful.