FALL 2005

Kamau Brathwaite, Chris Stroffolino, Chris Bachelder, and more...


Poetics, Revelations, and Catastrophes: An Interview with Kamau Brathwaite
Interviewed by Joyelle McSweeney
Barbados's respected man of letters discusses spiritual and natural forces, history, poetry, ecology, and technology.

Bipolar Worlds: An Interview with Chris Stroffolino
Interviewed by Aryanil Mukherjee
The poet, essayist, and singer/songwriter on the American poetic landscape, the Beats, and teaching literature.

That Kinko's Guy: An Interview with Paul Orfalea
Interviewed by Robert J. Nebel
Kinko's founder Paul Orfalea blasts teaching to tests, vouchers, and educational elitism in America.

Chris Bachelder and the Politics of Giving a Damn
Essay by Justin Taylor
Advocating for irony, and trying to rescue a wildly original satire from literary oblivion.


Anansi Boys
Neil Gaiman
Gaiman crafts his newest novel, Anansi Boys, with the deftness of a spider weaving a web, luring the reader deeper and deeper into the story until she is simply stuck—helpless against its masterful humor and fun. Reviewed by Kelly Everding

Small Island
Andrea Levy
Recipient of last year’s Orange Prize as well as the Whitbread Book of the Year Award, Levy’s novel addresses questions of belonging in the years before, during, and shortly after World War II. Reviewed by Christopher J. Lee

Holy Skirts
René Steinke
Steinke’s Holy Skirts measures a life lived out of time, the ephemeral existence of the fictional World War I-era artist Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven. Reviewed by Garin Cycholl

Lance Olsen
Constructed of 100 two-page connected vignettes, Olsen’s new novel takes on the rapid modern-day consumerist consciousness of movie-goers at the Mall of America’s AMC Theater. Reviewed by Scott Esposito

An Outline of the Republic
Siddhartha Deb
Set on a fragile strip of land that connects India to Burma, China, Bhutan, and Bangladesh, Deb’s novel is a subtle exploration of identity and conflict, without a whiff of exoticism. Reviewed by Niranjana Iyer

Chuck Palahniuk
While often disturbing and occasionally disgusting, Palahniuk’s latest is not a very scary book, but rather a black satire consisting of eighteen narratives by aspiring novelists. Reviewed by Kevin Dole

Maps for Lost Lovers
Nadeem Aslam
Aslam develops a set of relationships that reveals the ways in which love—often abetted by religion and nationalism—can divide people instead of bring them together. Reviewed by Scott Esposito


Written on Water
Eileen Chang
Now available in English for the first time, acclaimed novelist Chang’s essays on literature, art, war and urban life in Communist China provide another facet to this fascinating 20th-century author. Reviewed by Lucas Klein

Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time
Michael Downing
Downing chronicles the surprisingly checkered and bizarre history of Daylight Saving Time, unveiling in the process the huge economic and cultural forces that depend on it. Reviewed by Carrie Mercer

H. P. Lovecraft: Against the World, Against Life
Michel Houellebecq
After reading Houellebecq reading Lovecraft, you come to see not only the affinities, but the degree to which Houellebecq has prepared Lovecraft for us, making him available to us as readers of Houellebecq. Reviewed by Joel Turnipseed

True Story: Murder, Memoir, Mea Culpa
Michael Finkel
Ex-New York Times reporter Finkel attempts to redeem his tarnished reputation by interviewing a conman who was caught impersonating him, uncovering both men’s predilection for prevarication. Reviewed by Elaine Margolin

The Truth Book: Escaping a Childhood of Abuse Among Jehovah’s Witnesses
Joy Castro
In spite of the subtitle and the blood-red dust jacket, this is not a sensationalized story. Castro provides a balanced look at the suffering she endured and the truths that were so effectively ignored. Reviewed by Anne F. McCoy

The Middle of Everything: Memoirs of Motherhood
Michelle Herman
Herman rhapsodizes on the wonder of first-time motherhood and grants her daughter Grace her every wish, with dire consequences. Reviewed by Clifford Garstang

Beyond the Bleep: The Definitive Unauthorized Guide to What the Bleep Do We Know!?
Alexandra Bruce
Taking a middle-ground standpoint, this much-welcome guide enables the reader to get a much better grasp on the science the film ultimately fails to adequately describe. Reviewed by Jaye Beldo

The First Crusade
Thomas Asbridge
& The Fourth Crusade and the Sack of Constantinople
Jonathan Phillips
Two books on the medieval religious holy wars create a stark contrast, with the First Crusade a miraculous military success and the Fourth a dismal failure, burdened with debt and division. Reviewed by Summer Block


Decreation: Poetry, Essays, Opera
Anne Carson
This collection of poetry, essays, and an opera is propelled by Carson’s flood subjects, knowledge and desire, and reaches after the elusive. Reviewed by Courtney Queeney

Spinoza Doesn’t Come Here Anymore
Colette Inez
In her ninth collection of poems, Inez manages to redeem shabbiness and loss with wonder and awe. Reviewed by Daniela Gioseffi

Wise Fish: Tales in 6/8 Time
Adrian Castro
Castro latest grapples with the multiplicity of language in our postcolonial, postmodern moment. Reviewed by Shannon Gibney

Escape Velocity
David Breskin
Breskin describes a world in which people are slipping further into poverty, society is becoming more indifferent to its woes, and love is a passive virtue. Reviewed by Ross O'Hara

Stefanie Marlis
Marlis delivers poetic puzzles and ethical investigations in a varied and fulfilling new volume. Reviewed by Eric Elshtain

Cosmos & Damian
David Michalski
Through a collage of poetry, prose, interviews, confessions and scholarly thesis, Michalski tells one personal story set against the backdrop of the World Trade Center. Reviewed by David Madgalene


Planetary: Leaving the 20th Century
Warren Ellis and John Cassaday
In this third volume of an extraordinary series, the dramatic tension grows and the mythos solidifies—while three “mystery archaeologists” continue to try to tidy up the past. Reviewed by Woody Evans

Rain Taxi Online Edition, Fall 2005 | © Rain Taxi, Inc. 2005