Browsing: January-February 2021

January-February 2021

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Brief reviews of Stories to Sing in the Dark, and You Will Love What you Have Killed.

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            Myles has been called “the rock star of modern poetry.” For their many fans, this book will readily confirm that badge. Others may find For Now bewildering, a labyrinthine ramble with no real payoff. Myles is aware of the risks they’re taking. Literature, they say, “is not a moral project except in this profound aspect of wasting time.” Those who choose to “waste time” with this book should be ready for some surprising, even profound, literary adventures.

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            When Rhein shows Brown his portraits—sinewy young men, sometimes with pierced ears, nipples, and penises—he calls them by name: “William, Jeffery, John, Andrew, Joe, Russell.” Some were lovers, some friends. Some are living, some are dead. Self-portraits show Rhein sitting or lying nude on a primitive wooden bench. At other times, he appears next to his subjects, kissing them in a rumpled bed, or helping to insert an IV.

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            Repackaged conference papers tend to make for dreadful books, readable only by specialists with magnifying glasses. Happily, Isherwood in Transit is much better than many collections and contains a number of chapters that will be of interest not only to gay readers but also to those interested in the milieux through which Isherwood passed, notably Germany and Japan.

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THESE FEVERED DAYS Ten Pivotal Moments in the Making of Emily Dickinson by Martha Ackmann Norton. 278 pages, $26.95 IN THESE FEVERED DAYS, Martha Ackmann has hit…More

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First, the homosexuality. Proust, Friedländer asserts [in Proustian Uncertainties], was openly gay, though one could argue that this was only true after his parents died, and then only among close friends, and not even all of them. In fact, when Proust’s first book, in Pleasures and Days, came out, he fought a duel with a journalist whose review implied that Proust was an “invert.” Of course, Proust had … and always knew that homosexuality would be one of the main subjects of his novel; he was even afraid that someone else would beat him to it.

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Since the 1960s, it has been standard dogma that gender is binary only as a result of cultural enforcement, while sex is the biological dimorphism of male and female.

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            In clear, easy prose, and with an engaging plot, A Burning dramatizes the many injustices suffered by so many Indian people who are too poor to afford reputable doctors, attorneys, or agents, and the connections and moral compromises needed to get ahead. In depicting the inequalities in Indian society, the book resembles Arundhati Roy’s novels, but also depicts the power of social media for good and ill.

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            The Stone Motel was built in Eunice, Louisiana, in the late 1940s. The name came from its façade of artificial stone. Zanny Ardoin, Morris’ father, purchased the motel in 1967. The father and the motel dominate this book.

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