Nicholson Baker, House Of Holes

Nicholson Baker writes three kinds of books: non-fiction, literary fiction, and porn. It’s odd that although he’s known for the phone-sex masterpiece Vox, the only thing I’d ever read by him was The Anthologist, a wonky first-person slow-moving story about a poetry writer and editor with a near-fatal case of writer’s block. It’s well-written and has a solid […]

Writing in the key of grey: James Salter’s “Dusk and other Stories”

I’ve been reading James Salter’s Dusk and Other Stories, a collection of short stories from Salter’s long career as a contributor to high contemporary fiction. This is literature of the “literature genre,” the genre which insists its not a genre at all, but the sine qua non of writing, as if they were artist of the […]

Review: Jeanette Winterson, The Stone Gods

So, I’ve finished reading The Stone Gods by Jeanette Winterson, and my reactions are mixed, to say the least.  My primary reaction was one of intense sadness: she really does believe that she’s braving new territory.  She is completely unaware that she’s hacking through a jungle right next to a long, well-trodden road and the […]

Review: Iain Banks Matter

After two long weeks of reading in fits and starts, I have finally finished Iain M. Banks’ latest SF novel, The Culture Novel Matter. And although it was unquestionably an excellent space opera novel with all the glorious wordplay, unbelievably vast and imaginative settings, and inevitable tightening of the plot screws that are the hallmarks […]

How not to do foreshadowing: Karin Huxman’s Sea Change

I was reading Karin Huxman’s romance novel, Sea Change (New Concepts Publishing, 2005), and I have found much to mock. The book is set in the era of Melville, of whaling and whale ships. We have our hero, Jonah, a merchant marine captain famous among captains for his sea knowledge and his never having lost […]

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