Modern Library Revue
November 25, 2009
The story is told in a self-consciously poetic way, as if the author wrote it while sitting behind a duck blind with a camouflaged typewriter, looking at a picture of Walt Whitman and listening to Wagner.
October 23, 2009
Someone once said (it was me) that Iris Murdoch wrote so many novels that if you are in the mood to read something by her, there is probably a fresh one available.
September 28, 2009
Kipling, I have observed, is catnip to gentlemen over a certain age; how far they are over that age determines how much they own up to his allure.
July 23, 2009
Wright’s pacing is brilliant. It starts hard. It’s a realistic sort of pace. It doesn’t get easier as the novel goes on, but things get explained.
July 15, 2009
To write this installment of Modern Revue, I located and reread the copy of To the Lighthouse I had in college. The shock that the novel delivered to my booze-sodden collegiate nervous system is demonstrable. My copy looks like a creature, bristling with orange post-its. Obscure marginal notes abound, many of which are enormously insightful. […]
June 19, 2009
I have a slightly hard time with Graham Greene. I don’t know why. I think his writing is very good. He has weighty themes and sexy titles. And yet I have found that I can’t really remember anything about his novels beyond the most basic plot points. I’m talking about his “serious” fiction here. I […]
May 18, 2009
This book is very spicy. I would imagine that it made an absolute scene upon its publication.
April 20, 2009
In college, for me as for many people, it was psychologically impossible to start anything earlier than several hours before the deadline. The most terrifying papers were the ones for which you were supposed to meet periodically with your professor, revise, talk more, and write again, proving on a regular basis that you had given […]
April 13, 2009
For as long as I can remember I have kept Willa Cather locked away in the mind-cabinet, filed under Boring. Recently I examined this prejudice and it occurred to me that I cannot remember actually having read anything by Cather, and that, if and when I had, it would have been at a time when […]
April 6, 2009
The four novels (Justine, Balthazar, Mountolive, Clea) which make up Lawrence Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet share the #70 spot on the Modern Library list. For various reasons I lay down on the job and only read one of them, Justine, so I am not at all qualified to talk about the series. But I do have […]