Modern Library Revue

September 16, 2011

Modern Library Revue: #25 A Passage to India 4

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This gets to the heart of both my admiration and my anxieties about this novel. How can we write across culture, or think across culture, even, in a way that is fair? The cowardly answer is that we can’t.

March 17, 2011

Modern Library Revue: #4 Lolita 7

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(A signal event in English, by a Russian, about sex with children, published by a French purveyor of mostly-filth of a pretty banal sort.)

December 30, 2010

Modern Library Revue: #96 Sophie’s Choice 18

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There are two main narratives at work in this sad and sensational story: Sophie’s Auschwitz horrors, and Stingo’s penile travails.

November 23, 2010

Modern Library Revue: #48 The Rainbow 5

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D. H. Lawrence’s books are not, on the surface, about anything, and they are full of poetic flights, everyone alternately feeling a deadness inside and flinging himself down to rub his parts on the grass.

October 22, 2010

Modern Library Revue: #14 I, Claudius 4

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I confess: all I know about Alexander the Great I learned from Mary Renault (and how).

September 17, 2010

Modern Library Revue: #11 Under the Volcano 9

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While Dante urged me to strive up, up, up toward heaven’s crooning saints and brightly-lit pinwheels, Malcolm Lowry lit my cigarette and told me it’s always nighttime inside the bar. It was a confusing period in my life.

August 13, 2010

Modern Library Revue: #58 The Age of Innocence 6

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Were Ellen Olenska on Jersey Shore, she would be the pasty, sober blonde in a ruffled one-piece.

May 26, 2010

Modern Library Revue: #62 From Here to Eternity 2

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Seven hundred pages is, at best, a dear friend and at worst, a co-worker, the kind who sends you political forwards.

May 19, 2010

Modern Library Revue: #71 A High Wind in Jamaica 11

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I want not to resort to the repellent vernacular of the internet meme, but my reaction to the book is difficult to express otherwise, so, Wow. Just….wow.

March 31, 2010

Modern Library Revue: #67 Heart of Darkness 13

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“White man oppresses black man, is oppressed in turn by jungle mysteries.”