Tag Archives: winter 2002


William T. Vollmann Viking ($40) by Jason Picone See William Vollmann. His tousled hair complements his still boyish face, which retains a youthful look despite the author's mustache and 40-something-years. Decked out in a well-worn windbreaker that he keeps on for the entire event, Vollmann reads from his latest novel, Argall, the third volume (though […]

Agape Agape

William Gaddis Viking ($23.95) by Vincent Czyz The first book William Gaddis published, at the age of 32, was his 956-page masterpiece The Recognitions. Unfortunately, reviewers weren't quite ready for a multi-layered work of genius from an author making his literary debut and, one after another, they wrote reviews that were generally incompetent, cribbing both […]

Some Of The Parts

T Cooper Akashic Books ($14.95) by David Lenson I have a fondness for gender-bender books, so when I picked up Some of the Parts and met the first of its four protagonists—a woman named Isak whose gender is so indeterminate that she briefly joins a carnival in a guess-what-it-is act—I was good to go. What […]

You Shall Know Our Velocity

Dave Eggers McSweeny's Books ($22) by Clarence Thrun The first thing you'll notice about the dust jacketless You Shall Know Our Velocity is that the opening paragraph is printed on the cover of the book, and continues on the inside without a break. Flipping through the pages, looking for more enticements, you'll be rewarded by […]

Himalayan Dhaba

Craig Joseph Danner Dutton ($23.95) by H. E. Everding Surrounded by the soaring Himalayas in a remote town of Northern India—"a couple of alleyways and market stalls"—Himchall Mission Hospital lures geriatric internist Mary Davis to volunteer her services. Her husband Richard, recently killed in a bicycle accident, had worked there briefly twelve years ago as […]

after the quake

Haruki Murakami Translated by Jay Rubin Knopf ($21) by Emily Johnston For Americans, the first sentence of Haruki Murakami's recent book of short stories, after the quake, plumbs a sudden and surprising well of feeling: "Five straight days she spent in front of the television, staring at crumbled banks and hospitals, whole blocks of stores […]

farewells to plasma

Natasza Goerke Translated by W. Martine Twisted Spoon Press ($14.00) by Laird Hunt Halfway through Polish writer Natasza Goerke's new collection of stories, farewells to plasma, a toenail blithely asserts that "monstrosity is an important issue." Immersed in Goerke's wonderfully disconcerting world of marriageable she-bears, writers who choke to death on egg yolks, and a […]

The Big Snow

David Park Bloomsbury ($24.95) by Peter Ritter “The snow was general all over Ireland,” Joyce wrote in “The Dead.” And so it is in David Park's The Big Snow, a work, which, though set in Ulster in 1963, shares more than atmospheric conditions with Joyce's celebrated novella. Here is the mood of muffled and inchoate […]

Some of Her Friends That Year: New and Selected Stories

Maxine Chernoff Coffee House Press ($16.95) by Chris Semansky A master of indirection and irony, attitude and empathy, poet and fiction writer Maxine Chernoff charts the inscrutable and the mundane in Some of Her Friends That Year: New and Selected Stories. Thick with allusions to popular culture, these stories attempt to illustrate what happens when […]

Astro Boy: Volumes One through Six

Osamu Tezuka Dark Horse Comics ($9.95 each) by Tosh Berman On a trip in Osaka, Japan in 1989, I made a point of visiting the Tezuka Museum to see original artwork by Osamu Tezuka, the creator of Astro Boy. Not being able to read Japanese, I became seduced by Tezuka's drawings of a robot boy […]