Modern Library Revue

December 21, 2009

Modern Library Revue: #17 The Heart is a Lonely Hunter 4

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Carson McCullers attains a level of virtuosity on many fronts, but I was most taken with her depiction of relationships, many of which balance on a knife edge of propriety, wavering back and forth between the lovely and the weird and the outright perverse.

November 25, 2009

Modern Library Revue: #42 Deliverance 13

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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

Modern Library Revue: #95 Under the Net 11

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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

Modern Library Revue: #78 Kim 11

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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

Modern Library Revue: #20 Native Son 4

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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

Modern Library Revue: #15 To the Lighthouse 5

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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

Modern Library Revue #40: The Heart of the Matter 5

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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

Modern Library Revue: #22 Appointment in Samarra 8

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This book is very spicy. I would imagine that it made an absolute scene upon its publication.

April 20, 2009

Modern Library Revue: #97 The Sheltering Sky 5

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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

Modern Library Revue: #61 Death Comes for the Archbishop 5

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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 […]