1.  Maureen Corrigan reviews the new graphic novel from Jules Feiffer:

The title, Kill My Mother, has about as much subtlety as a migraine, but Jules Feiffer isn’t going for subtlety in this, his first graphic novel.  Instead, he’s going for ricocheting bullets, imploding nuclear families, knuckle sandwiches, booze, broads, and paranoia gone ballistic. In short, at the ripe old age of 85, Feiffer has returned to the seedy comic strips, hard-boiled novels and B movies of his youth: this time out, he’s going for noir.
View in High-Res

     Maureen Corrigan reviews the new graphic novel from Jules Feiffer:

    The title, Kill My Mother, has about as much subtlety as a migraine, but Jules Feiffer isn’t going for subtlety in this, his first graphic novel.  Instead, he’s going for ricocheting bullets, imploding nuclear families, knuckle sandwiches, booze, broads, and paranoia gone ballistic. In short, at the ripe old age of 85, Feiffer has returned to the seedy comic strips, hard-boiled novels and B movies of his youth: this time out, he’s going for noir.

  2. noir

    kill my mother

    jules feiffer

    graphic novel

    maureen corrigan

  1. Julie Schumacher’s first novel, The Body Is Water, was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award.  She’s a faculty member in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Minnesota, a job that presumably gave her some raw material for her new academic farce, Dear Committee Members.  Book critic Maureen Corrigan has a review:

For all you teachers out there contemplating the August calendar with dismay, watching, powerless, as the days of summer vacation dwindle down to a precious few, I have some consolation to offer: a hilarious academic novel that’ll send you laughing (albeit ruefully) back into the trenches of the classroom.  Julie Schumacher’s novel is called Dear Committee Members and one of the reasons why it’s such a mordant minor masterpiece is the fact that Schumacher had the brainstorm to structure it as an epistolary novel.  This book of letters is composed of a year’s worth of recommendations that our anti-hero—a weary professor of creative writing and literature—is called upon to write for junior colleagues, lackluster students, and even former lovers.  The gem of a law school recommendation letter our beleaguered professor writes for a cutthroat undergrad who he’s known for all of “eleven minutes,” is alone worth the price of Schumacher’s book.


Photo Jane Inman Stormer via Flickr View in High-Res

    Julie Schumacher’s first novel, The Body Is Water, was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award.  She’s a faculty member in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Minnesota, a job that presumably gave her some raw material for her new academic farce, Dear Committee Members.  Book critic Maureen Corrigan has a review:

    For all you teachers out there contemplating the August calendar with dismay, watching, powerless, as the days of summer vacation dwindle down to a precious few, I have some consolation to offer: a hilarious academic novel that’ll send you laughing (albeit ruefully) back into the trenches of the classroom.  Julie Schumacher’s novel is called Dear Committee Members and one of the reasons why it’s such a mordant minor masterpiece is the fact that Schumacher had the brainstorm to structure it as an epistolary novel.  This book of letters is composed of a year’s worth of recommendations that our anti-hero—a weary professor of creative writing and literature—is called upon to write for junior colleagues, lackluster students, and even former lovers.  The gem of a law school recommendation letter our beleaguered professor writes for a cutthroat undergrad who he’s known for all of “eleven minutes,” is alone worth the price of Schumacher’s book.

    Photo Jane Inman Stormer via Flickr

  2. maureen corrigan

    Julie Schumacher

    Dear Committee Members

  1. Fresh Air book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews Ride Around Shining

    Most sports novels are about the aspiration to excel physically: to run faster, stretch out one’s arms farther.  The really cool thing about Ride Around Shining, a debut novel by Chris Leslie-Hynan, is that it doesn’t stick to that familiar rulebook.   Even though it’s set in the world of pro basketball, our narrator here is not the guy who aspires to be a great player; rather, he’s the guy who aspires to be a great suck-up to the great player.  Jess, as our narrator is called, is a white bread grad student, finishing his “second useless degree.”   One day, he hears that a player for the Portland Trail Blazers, named Calyph West, is looking for a chauffeur and Jess lands the job.  Thus, begins Jess’s life of eager servitude, driving Calyph around in his “entry level” Jag, waiting on the party guests who swarm into Calyph’s McMansion on weekends, and even helping Calyph to dress, choosing from his array of beautiful suits, in pearl gray, honey butter and pinstripe silver

    If your literary allusion antennae have begun twitching, you’ve read your Fitzgerald.  This novel about nouveau riche excess, social class, and hero worship references The Great Gatsby on practically every page, beginning with Jess’s retrospective Nick Carroway-like narration, as well as that premise of a white chauffeur driving around his rich black passenger—that’s a scene that mirrors the famous “Queensboro Bridge” passage in Gatsby.

  2. ride around shining

    the great gatsby

    fitzgerald

    maureen corrigan

  1. A debut novel by Yelena Akhtiorskaya puts a fresh, comic spin on the age-old coming to America story. Her novel is called Panic in a Suitcase and Fresh Air book critic Maureen Corrigan has a review: 

I can’t tell you the names of my great-grandparents, left behind in Poland and Ireland, because nobody ever mentioned them.  The break was that final.  
These days of course, it’s different.  Within the space of a few hours, people can fly across oceans; through skyping and e-mail, they can electronically commute between Old World and New.  Three cheers for The March of Progress, right?  Except, if you want to make a definitive break how can you when the Old World is always calling you on the phone, texting, and crashing on your living room couch for extended visits? That’s the crucial question Yelena Akhtiorskaya mulls over in her sharply observed and very funny debut novel, Panic in a Suitcase.  Akhtiorskaya, who was born in Odessa and emigrated to the Russian immigrant enclave of Brighton Beach, Brooklyn at the age of seven, writes of the fictional Nasmertov family, whose move from Old World to New imitates her own.  
View in High-Res

    A debut novel by Yelena Akhtiorskaya puts a fresh, comic spin on the age-old coming to America story. Her novel is called Panic in a Suitcase and Fresh Air book critic Maureen Corrigan has a review: 

    I can’t tell you the names of my great-grandparents, left behind in Poland and Ireland, because nobody ever mentioned them.  The break was that final. 

    These days of course, it’s different.  Within the space of a few hours, people can fly across oceans; through skyping and e-mail, they can electronically commute between Old World and New.  Three cheers for The March of Progress, right?  Except, if you want to make a definitive break how can you when the Old World is always calling you on the phone, texting, and crashing on your living room couch for extended visits? That’s the crucial question Yelena Akhtiorskaya mulls over in her sharply observed and very funny debut novel, Panic in a Suitcase.  Akhtiorskaya, who was born in Odessa and emigrated to the Russian immigrant enclave of Brighton Beach, Brooklyn at the age of seven, writes of the fictional Nasmertov family, whose move from Old World to New imitates her own.  

  2. fresh air

    maureen corrigan

    panic in a suitcase

    book review

    yelena akhtiorskaya

  1. Marja Mills, a reporter for the Chicago Tribune, spent 18 months living next door to Harper Lee and her sister Alice. Maureen Corrigan reviews Mills’ book about the experience, titled  The Mockingbird Next Door: 

Rather than warmed-over gossip, what The Mockingbird Next Door does offer is a rich sense of the daily texture of the Lee sisters’ lives. By the time she moved to Monroeville, Mills had been diagnosed with Lupus and was out on disability from the Chicago Tribune. Consequently, she entered easily into the world of the Lees and their “gray-haired crew” — all of them shared aching joints and free time to talk about books and local history, to go fishing and take long car rides into the country. Mills says she had to watch herself with Harper, who had more of an “edge” than her older sister Alice. Whereas Harper could shut down a conversation with a frosty stare or a few choice cuss words, Alice comes off as gracious, grounded and principled. During her long legal career, she was a steady proponent of The Civil Rights Movement, prompting Harper Lee to refer to Alice admiringly as: “Atticus in a skirt.”


Photo: Book author Harper Lee and Mary Badham (in the tire swing), who plays Scout in the film version of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” are shown on a film set at Universal Studio in 1961. View in High-Res

    Marja Mills, a reporter for the Chicago Tribune, spent 18 months living next door to Harper Lee and her sister Alice. Maureen Corrigan reviews Mills’ book about the experience, titled  The Mockingbird Next Door

    Rather than warmed-over gossip, what The Mockingbird Next Door does offer is a rich sense of the daily texture of the Lee sisters’ lives. By the time she moved to Monroeville, Mills had been diagnosed with Lupus and was out on disability from the Chicago Tribune. Consequently, she entered easily into the world of the Lees and their “gray-haired crew” — all of them shared aching joints and free time to talk about books and local history, to go fishing and take long car rides into the country. Mills says she had to watch herself with Harper, who had more of an “edge” than her older sister Alice. Whereas Harper could shut down a conversation with a frosty stare or a few choice cuss words, Alice comes off as gracious, grounded and principled. During her long legal career, she was a steady proponent of The Civil Rights Movement, prompting Harper Lee to refer to Alice admiringly as: “Atticus in a skirt.”

    Photo: Book author Harper Lee and Mary Badham (in the tire swing), who plays Scout in the film version of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” are shown on a film set at Universal Studio in 1961.

  2. to kill a mockingbird

    harper lee

    marja mills

    the mockingbird next door

    atticus finch

    review

    maureen corrigan

  1. Maureen Corrigan reviews the 10th anniversary edition of Jacqueline Winspear’s English mystery, Maisie Dobbs, set during WWI: 

"Rereading Maisie Dobbs has made me appreciate anew its subtler strengths—the strengths of a mystery that does a really fine job of playing within the traditional boundaries of the genre.  It’s Winspear’s command of the period detail of Maisie’s Georgian and World War I world, as well as Maisie’s own quiet smarts that make the novel compelling.  Born working class, teenaged intellectual prodigy Maisie toils as a maid in a London townhouse until the day her aristocratic employer catches her in the library reading the philosophical works of David Hume and sends her to Girton College at Cambridge. I know, I know.  This fantasy of benevolent despotism is as bad as the more cloying aspects of Downton Abbey.  But, the occasional sentimental weaknesses of Maisie Dobbs are more than offset by the novel’s sober awareness of all its heroine must give up in order to make her class climb.  When young Maisie leaves the scullery for university, one of her fellow servants comments that:  “Fish can’t survive long out of water… .”  Indeed her solitude puts Maisie in the alienated company of every other first-class detective from Edgar Allan Poe’s Auguste Dupin onward. “


1907 St. Pancras Train Station, London via Topical Press Agency / Getty Images View in High-Res

    Maureen Corrigan reviews the 10th anniversary edition of Jacqueline Winspear’s English mystery, Maisie Dobbs, set during WWI: 

    "Rereading Maisie Dobbs has made me appreciate anew its subtler strengths—the strengths of a mystery that does a really fine job of playing within the traditional boundaries of the genre.  It’s Winspear’s command of the period detail of Maisie’s Georgian and World War I world, as well as Maisie’s own quiet smarts that make the novel compelling.  Born working class, teenaged intellectual prodigy Maisie toils as a maid in a London townhouse until the day her aristocratic employer catches her in the library reading the philosophical works of David Hume and sends her to Girton College at Cambridge. I know, I know.  This fantasy of benevolent despotism is as bad as the more cloying aspects of Downton Abbey.  But, the occasional sentimental weaknesses of Maisie Dobbs are more than offset by the novel’s sober awareness of all its heroine must give up in order to make her class climb.  When young Maisie leaves the scullery for university, one of her fellow servants comments that:  “Fish can’t survive long out of water… .”  Indeed her solitude puts Maisie in the alienated company of every other first-class detective from Edgar Allan Poe’s Auguste Dupin onward.

    1907 St. Pancras Train Station, London via Topical Press Agency / Getty Images

  2. Maisie Dobbs

    mystery

    maureen corrigan

    england

    WWI

  1. Fresh Air book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews Friendship, a novel by Emily Gould about two friends in their early thirties, whose relationship crumbles: 

"Friendship has its moments, but its simple vision of female friendship as the dependable consolation prize when nothing else in life works out feels more high school than feminist.  Then again, in a summer where Katie Couric announces her marriage to financier John Molner by tweeting, “So excited to make my debut as Mrs. John Molner!” maybe even the mildest expression of Gen X feminist solidarity is something to cheer on, rather than criticize.”

    Fresh Air book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews Friendship, a novel by Emily Gould about two friends in their early thirties, whose relationship crumbles: 

    "Friendship has its moments, but its simple vision of female friendship as the dependable consolation prize when nothing else in life works out feels more high school than feminist.  Then again, in a summer where Katie Couric announces her marriage to financier John Molner by tweeting, “So excited to make my debut as Mrs. John Molner!” maybe even the mildest expression of Gen X feminist solidarity is something to cheer on, rather than criticize.”

  2. friendship

    maureen corrigan

    emily gould

    book review

    feminism

  1. Fresh Air book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews The Most Dangerous Book by Kevin Birmingham, about the publication and censorship battles over James Joyce’s Ulysses. 

There are many heroes in the tale of how James Joyce’s masterpiece, Ulysses, which was banned for over ten years throughout the English-speaking world, finally won its long battle to be legally published, sold, and read.   Kevin Birmingham tells that extraordinary story in his new book about Ulysses, called The Most Dangerous Book; as I said, there are many heroes in it, but James Joyce himself isn’t one of them.  Narcissistic, manipulative, mean, and dissolute, Joyce was a handful from the time he was a teenager.  Here’s an example: when Joyce was just twenty, an intermediary arranged a meeting for him with W.B. Yeats, whom Joyce had publically criticized as a sentimental sell-out. Nonetheless, Yeats was gracious throughout their meeting, even offering to read the younger man’s poetry.  Joyce eventually stood up to leave and, in a parting shot, asked Yeats how old he was.  Yeats said he was thirty-six and Joyce replied:  “We have met too late.  You are too old for me to have any effect on you.”


Photo - Young James Joyce View in High-Res

    Fresh Air book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews The Most Dangerous Book by Kevin Birmingham, about the publication and censorship battles over James Joyce’s Ulysses. 

    There are many heroes in the tale of how James Joyce’s masterpiece, Ulysses, which was banned for over ten years throughout the English-speaking world, finally won its long battle to be legally published, sold, and read.   Kevin Birmingham tells that extraordinary story in his new book about Ulysses, called The Most Dangerous Book; as I said, there are many heroes in it, but James Joyce himself isn’t one of them.  Narcissistic, manipulative, mean, and dissolute, Joyce was a handful from the time he was a teenager.  Here’s an example: when Joyce was just twenty, an intermediary arranged a meeting for him with W.B. Yeats, whom Joyce had publically criticized as a sentimental sell-out. Nonetheless, Yeats was gracious throughout their meeting, even offering to read the younger man’s poetry.  Joyce eventually stood up to leave and, in a parting shot, asked Yeats how old he was.  Yeats said he was thirty-six and Joyce replied:  “We have met too late.  You are too old for me to have any effect on you.”

    Photo - Young James Joyce

  2. james joyce

    ulysses

    the most dangerous book

    maureen corrigan

    review

    fresh air

  1. Fresh Air book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews The Rise and Fall of Great Powers by Tom Rachman:

Any novel that opens on a young American woman running a bookshop located in a small town nestled in the Welsh countryside promises a glimpse into a life lived far from the madding crowd. That’s the quaint plotline Tom Rachman’s new novel, The Rise and Fall of Great Powers, tells uninterruptedly for the length of one brief chapter.   Thereafter, Rachman returns only occasionally to the World’s End bookshop and its shelves sporting idiosyncratic labels like:  “Artists Who Were Unpleasant to their Spouses; History, the Dull Bits; and Books You Pretend to Have Read but Haven’t.”  Most of the rest of this nervous novel follows that young bookstore proprietor, whose name is Tooly Zylberberg, as she hops backward in time and place:  Bangkok in the 1980s; New York City in the 1990s; Italy, Ireland, and New York again in the present.  Tooly turns out to have a complicated backstory.  When an unsettling Facebook friend request pops up on Tooly’s bookshop computer, it’s testament to the fact that, these days—even in a town deep in remotest Wales—the past and its burdens are only a mouse click away.


The full review. 

Photo: The Honesty Bookshop in Hay-on-Wye, Wales View in High-Res

    Fresh Air book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews The Rise and Fall of Great Powers by Tom Rachman:

    Any novel that opens on a young American woman running a bookshop located in a small town nestled in the Welsh countryside promises a glimpse into a life lived far from the madding crowd. That’s the quaint plotline Tom Rachman’s new novel, The Rise and Fall of Great Powers, tells uninterruptedly for the length of one brief chapter.   Thereafter, Rachman returns only occasionally to the World’s End bookshop and its shelves sporting idiosyncratic labels like:  “Artists Who Were Unpleasant to their Spouses; History, the Dull Bits; and Books You Pretend to Have Read but Haven’t.”  Most of the rest of this nervous novel follows that young bookstore proprietor, whose name is Tooly Zylberberg, as she hops backward in time and place:  Bangkok in the 1980s; New York City in the 1990s; Italy, Ireland, and New York again in the present.  Tooly turns out to have a complicated backstory.  When an unsettling Facebook friend request pops up on Tooly’s bookshop computer, it’s testament to the fact that, these days—even in a town deep in remotest Wales—the past and its burdens are only a mouse click away.

    The full review

    Photo: The Honesty Bookshop in Hay-on-Wye, Wales

  2. the rise and fall of great powers

    maureen corrigan

    tom rachman

    wales

    bookstore

    novel

  1. Ellen Willis was the first rock critic for The New Yorker; she was also a radical feminist writer and activist. Her work appeared in The Village Voice, where she was a columnist, as well as in Rolling Stone and The Nation. Willis died in 2006 and an award-winning posthumous collection of her rock music essays was published in 2011 called Out of the Vinyl Deeps.  It was edited by Willis’s daughter, Nona Willis Aronowitz, who’s just brought out a second collection of her mother’s work. 
This collection is more focused on her explicitly feminist culture criticism.  Our book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews The Essential Ellen Willis —- 

"I’ve come to think her power as a writer didn’t derive so much from a poetic way with words as it did from the passion of her arguments and her first person witness.  Thus, an extended essay called “Next Year in Jerusalem” that appeared in Rolling Stone in 1977 is riveting because Willis is so real about her own vulnerabilities.”  

You can listen to the rest of her review here. 
Photo of Ellen Willis in 1970 courtesy of Nona Willis-Aronowitz View in High-Res

    Ellen Willis was the first rock critic for The New Yorker; she was also a radical feminist writer and activist. Her work appeared in The Village Voice, where she was a columnist, as well as in Rolling Stone and The Nation. Willis died in 2006 and an award-winning posthumous collection of her rock music essays was published in 2011 called Out of the Vinyl Deeps.  It was edited by Willis’s daughter, Nona Willis Aronowitz, who’s just brought out a second collection of her mother’s work.

    This collection is more focused on her explicitly feminist culture criticism.  Our book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews The Essential Ellen Willis —- 

    "I’ve come to think her power as a writer didn’t derive so much from a poetic way with words as it did from the passion of her arguments and her first person witness.  Thus, an extended essay called “Next Year in Jerusalem” that appeared in Rolling Stone in 1977 is riveting because Willis is so real about her own vulnerabilities.”  

    You can listen to the rest of her review here. 

    Photo of Ellen Willis in 1970 courtesy of Nona Willis-Aronowitz

  2. Maureen Corrigan

    Ellen Willis

    nona willis aronowitz

    feminism

    The New Yorker

    Out of the Vinyl Deeps

  1. Francine Prose’s latest novel, called Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932, was inspired by this photograph and the strange back story of one of the women in it.  Book critic Maureen Corrigan has a review —- 

"Even the most restrained plot summary of Francine Prose’s latest novel sounds like a teaser for a late night Lifetime TV movie. Here goes: In the Paris of the late 1920s, a butch lesbian race car driver named Lou Villars has her license revoked by the French government for daring to dress as a man in public. Lou goes on to become a performer in a risque review at the Chameleon Club, a smoky nightclub where threadbare artists and thrill-seeking aristocrats mingle in the half-light. Hitler rises to power and, through an acquaintance on the old race car circuit, Lou is invited to be his special guest at the 1936 Olympics. There, she’s recruited as spy for Germany. In occupied Paris, she works as a Nazi collaborator and torturer. Late in the war, on a lonely road in the French countryside, Lou Villars receives her just deserts at the hands of the French Resistance.
Whew. That’s a whopper of a tale from a writer who’s known for championing a sophisticated literary style over the more pedestrian pleasures of storytelling.”

You can read the rest of Maureen’s review here. 

    Francine Prose’s latest novel, called Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932, was inspired by this photograph and the strange back story of one of the women in it.  Book critic Maureen Corrigan has a review —- 

    "Even the most restrained plot summary of Francine Prose’s latest novel sounds like a teaser for a late night Lifetime TV movie. Here goes: In the Paris of the late 1920s, a butch lesbian race car driver named Lou Villars has her license revoked by the French government for daring to dress as a man in public. Lou goes on to become a performer in a risque review at the Chameleon Club, a smoky nightclub where threadbare artists and thrill-seeking aristocrats mingle in the half-light. Hitler rises to power and, through an acquaintance on the old race car circuit, Lou is invited to be his special guest at the 1936 Olympics. There, she’s recruited as spy for Germany. In occupied Paris, she works as a Nazi collaborator and torturer. Late in the war, on a lonely road in the French countryside, Lou Villars receives her just deserts at the hands of the French Resistance.

    Whew. That’s a whopper of a tale from a writer who’s known for championing a sophisticated literary style over the more pedestrian pleasures of storytelling.”

    You can read the rest of Maureen’s review here

  2. Francine Prose

    Lovers at the Chameleon Club Paris 1932

    Brassai

    Maureen Corrigan

  1. Fresh Air’s book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews Hotel Florida: Truth, Love and Death in the Spanish Civil War by Amanda Vaill, a romantic biography with “enduring mystique:” 

Amanda Vaill isn’t after anything as quixotic as trying to “set the record straight” on the Spanish Civil War; instead, she delves deeply into the lives of three couples whose chronicling of the war shaped public perception. Some of her subjects — like Ernest Hemingway, Martha Gellhorn and war photographer Robert Capa — are famous; others, like photographer Gerda Taro and Spanish journalist Arturo Barea, should be better known. Their paths crossed in Spain and all six spent time in the Hotel Florida, “a ten-story marble-clad jewel box” in Madrid, where journalists, diplomats, prostitutes, pilots and spies drank together and dived for cover as bombs whistled over the city at night. Ultimately, what Vaill seems to be mulling over in this book is the age-old question of what war does to people: whether it brings out altruism or naked self-interest. Spoiler alert: In Vaill’s account Hemingway fails the sniff test.
View in High-Res

    Fresh Air’s book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews Hotel Florida: Truth, Love and Death in the Spanish Civil War by Amanda Vaill, a romantic biography with “enduring mystique:” 

    Amanda Vaill isn’t after anything as quixotic as trying to “set the record straight” on the Spanish Civil War; instead, she delves deeply into the lives of three couples whose chronicling of the war shaped public perception. Some of her subjects — like Ernest Hemingway, Martha Gellhorn and war photographer Robert Capa — are famous; others, like photographer Gerda Taro and Spanish journalist Arturo Barea, should be better known. Their paths crossed in Spain and all six spent time in the Hotel Florida, “a ten-story marble-clad jewel box” in Madrid, where journalists, diplomats, prostitutes, pilots and spies drank together and dived for cover as bombs whistled over the city at night. Ultimately, what Vaill seems to be mulling over in this book is the age-old question of what war does to people: whether it brings out altruism or naked self-interest. Spoiler alert: In Vaill’s account Hemingway fails the sniff test.

  2. madrid

    history

    biography

    book review

    maureen corrigan

  1. Maureen Corrigan reviews two graphic novels:

    A Bintel Brief and The Harlem Hellfighters are two New York Stories. That’s why I’m combining them in this review; not because — as some purists still think — they’re lesser works of literature because they’re graphic novels. If Egyptian hieroglyphics, the Bayeux Tapestry, and Art Spiegelman’s 1991 classic, Maus, haven’t yet persuaded the high art holdouts of the value of stories told in visual sequence, nothing I say now about these two books is likely to convince them. Which is a shame because A Bintel Brief by Liana Finck and The Harlem Hellfighters by Max Brooks and illustrated by Caanan White are two of the most powerful books I’ve read so far this year.

    Read/listen to the full review here.

  2. graphic novels

    review

    maureen corrigan

    bintel brief

    harlem hellfighters

  1. Posted on 1 April, 2014

    160 notes | Permalink

    Reblogged from airudite

    Fresh Air book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews the latest novel from Maggie Shipstead, Astonish Me. After reading her debut novel, Seating Arrangements, Corrigan likened the young author to “Edith Wharton with a millennial generation edge:”

At the center of Shipstead’s tightly choreographed story of frustrated passion and ambition stands Joan Joyce, a dancer whose gifts and discipline are good enough to earn her a place in the corps, but not to propel her into the spotlight as a prima ballerina.
When the novel opens in 1977, Joan has discovered she’s pregnant and she’s decided to keep the baby and leave the ballet. It’s an unforgiving world. Shipstead’s narrator relays Joan’s thoughts about how little she’ll be missed once the other dancers, who keep tight surveillance on one another’s bodies, notice her pregnancy: “When she stops dancing, class will continue on without her, every day except Sunday, part of the earth’s rotation. … Her empty spot at the barre will heal over at once.”


photo via airudite:

torn ballerina [series] by Ana Luísa Pinto [Luminous Photography] on Flickr.
View in High-Res

    Fresh Air book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews the latest novel from Maggie Shipstead, Astonish Me. After reading her debut novel, Seating Arrangements, Corrigan likened the young author to “Edith Wharton with a millennial generation edge:”

    At the center of Shipstead’s tightly choreographed story of frustrated passion and ambition stands Joan Joyce, a dancer whose gifts and discipline are good enough to earn her a place in the corps, but not to propel her into the spotlight as a prima ballerina.

    When the novel opens in 1977, Joan has discovered she’s pregnant and she’s decided to keep the baby and leave the ballet. It’s an unforgiving world. Shipstead’s narrator relays Joan’s thoughts about how little she’ll be missed once the other dancers, who keep tight surveillance on one another’s bodies, notice her pregnancy: “When she stops dancing, class will continue on without her, every day except Sunday, part of the earth’s rotation. … Her empty spot at the barre will heal over at once.”

    photo via airudite:

    torn ballerina [series] by Ana Luísa Pinto [Luminous Photography] on Flickr.

    (Source: airudite)

  2. ballet

    dance

    novel

    review

    maureen corrigan

    maggie shipstead

  1. Maureen Corrigan reviews Teju Cole’s Every Day is For The Thief —-

"Let’s get the negative stuff out of the way first. Teju Cole’s Every Day Is For the Thief is not much of a novel. Forget plot or character development: This is a piece of writing that’s all about setting. If you take what Cole is offering here and value it on its own terms, you’ll probably appreciate the curious magic at work in this slim not-quite-a-novel. In chapters that stand as separate, short vignettes, Every Day Is For The Thief describes a young New York doctor’s visit back to his hometown of Lagos, Nigeria. It’s a Clockwork Orange world where policemen routinely stop traffic to collect bribes, where the electricity sputters out at nightly intervals and where 11-year-old thieves are necklaced with kerosene-soaked tires and burned to death. Amidst all the corruption and misery, Cole also makes readers understand the narrator’s longing for a Nigeria he thinks he remembers from childhood.”

Photo via Teju Cole View in High-Res

    Maureen Corrigan reviews Teju Cole’s Every Day is For The Thief —-

    "Let’s get the negative stuff out of the way first. Teju Cole’s Every Day Is For the Thief is not much of a novel. Forget plot or character development: This is a piece of writing that’s all about setting. If you take what Cole is offering here and value it on its own terms, you’ll probably appreciate the curious magic at work in this slim not-quite-a-novel. In chapters that stand as separate, short vignettes, Every Day Is For The Thief describes a young New York doctor’s visit back to his hometown of Lagos, Nigeria. It’s a Clockwork Orange world where policemen routinely stop traffic to collect bribes, where the electricity sputters out at nightly intervals and where 11-year-old thieves are necklaced with kerosene-soaked tires and burned to death. Amidst all the corruption and misery, Cole also makes readers understand the narrator’s longing for a Nigeria he thinks he remembers from childhood.”

    Photo via Teju Cole

  2. Teju Cole

    Every Day is for the Thief

    Open City

    Maureen Corrigan

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