Guess and Check is not an ordinary memoir; instead, it is a creative look at the life of a biracial boy—later seen as a young man—who adjusts with difficulty to lessons learned from the behavior of his parents and the people around him.
If we were to accept the notion that the individual body is a microcosm of the world, and a person’s disease and illness can be mirrored in the ruin of the broader world, then we would have no trouble believing that somehow, each of us struggles between the proclivity for self-destruction and the perpetual hope for healing and survival.
What of a land where people’s lives are thwarted at every turn, where prospects are determined by party status, where movements are restricted by permits, orders, and decrees, where “justice” is meted out mercilessly, and against which there is no recourse.
America, wrote Ishmael Reed in his 1972 novel Mumbo Jumbo, is “mercurial, restless, violent ... the travelling salesman who can sell the world a Brooklyn Bridge every day, can put anything over on you”.
I turn fifty this year—a distinction I share with The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the famed Summer of Love… and the Six Day War that brought victory to the state of Israel and began the occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan Heights that continues down to this day.
Things to Do when You’re Goth in the Country, opts for a much wider canvas, centering (with one interesting exception) on a broader range of Midwest types, from young lesbians dropping acid in St. Louis to a set of church matrons discussing church business to a jailed, addled druggie musing on blood in the sky.
Unsung heroes have become a common theme for African-American literature and movies in the modern age. The Help, Hidden Figures and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks focus on the black struggle and unsung women who helped changed the world.
Swing Time, the fifth novel from Zadie Smith, is a novel about little girls and the women they become; it’s about racial and class divides, but more importantly, friendship. Smith tackles big, complicated themes in this work
Like that other Bible, the Holy one, if you suspend your disbelief (in the banality of modern art) you can open this book to any page and find inspiration. As for being ‘Outlaw,’ now that our elites are illiterate, how long before ‘outlaw book’ is a redundancy?
In order to gain a sense of order and existential clarity, people often look for comfort and certainty by putting themselves in exotic or geographical distances. Traveling, for example, is one of those activities that cultivates and educates, and it seems that everyone wants to do it.
It seems that the real story of the modern and contemporary culture (arts and letters) in Iran starts somewhere in the second decade of the 20th century, more precisely in 1925 when Reza Khan took over the royal throne from the ancient Ahmad Shah of the Qadjar dynasty.
ome of the funniest moments in Jade Chang’s first novel, The Wangs vs. the World, are the offhand ones, such as when the Chinese-American family named in the title realizes they don’t know the name of the woman who raised most of them.
Kevin Jack McEnroe’s 2015 novel, Our Town, is an impressive debut; it is beautifully written and heartfelt. It is also a page-turner, but not at all a potboiler. There is tremendous substance and heart underneath the beautiful prose
Originally published in 1998, Katherine Arnoldi’s The Amazing “True” Story of a Teenage Single Mom is packaged and blurbed in a manner that reflects the “Wham! Pow! Comics Aren’t For Kids Anymore” narrative that still afflicted comics at the time.