Literature

Shorts

Foreskin's Lament, Sentences: The Life of MF Grimm, Shortcomings, and more
|
(0)

FORESKIN'S LAMENT

By Shalom Auslander

Riverhead Books

320 pages, $24.95

It's possible that one of the 613 commandments in the Torah is "Thou shall not read Foreskin's Lament." Which of course means read it. If you've got the time, read it twice, once from right to left. You'll still laugh. Read more »

Cemetery days

Poems smuggled out of Buchenwald record two sisters' observations from inside a living hell
|
(0)

lit@sfbg.com

REVIEW A smaller selection of the poems in A Wall of Two would have been easier to take. Presented here in more than 50 bone-shaking adaptations by poet Fanny Howe, the devastating early works by sisters Henia and Ilona Karmel, survivors of the German concentration camp Buchenwald, are so harrowing I could read only a few at a time. Read more »

All that noise

New Yorker critic Alex Ross surveys the many faces of 20th-century classical music
|
(0)

@@http://www.sfbg.com/blogs/pixel_vision/2007/10/lit_alex_ross_brings_the_noise.html@@

Boundary issues

In her story collection The Entire Predicament, Lucy Corin investigates the unstable line between public and private life
|
(0)

@@http://www.sfbg.com/blogs/pixel_vision/2007/10/lit_lucy_corins_boundary_issue.html@@

Fast, cheap, and out of control

Former labor secretary Robert Reich examines the heavy price we pay for prospering as consumers in "Supercapitalism"
|
(0)

tredmond@sfbg.com

Click here for the Guardian's interview with Robert Reich.

The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 led a lot of pundits to talk about “the end of History.” The big battle of our lives, the defining philosophical and political conflict of the century, was over. Communism lost. Read more »

Marginalia

A fine piece of class
|
(0)

The boarding school novel has long been a droopy flower in the garden of American literature, and its wanness can be explained only in part by the fact that we don't have many boarding schools. Read more »

Shorts

Songs for Night and Steps Through the Mist
|
(0)

SONG FOR NIGHT

By Chris Abani

Akashic Books

164 pages

$12.95

In the secret sign language of Song for Night's mine diffusers — the child vanguard of an unnamed war somewhere in West Africa — silence is a steady hand, palm flat. Narrated in such a silence — of signed phrases and internal monologue — by a mute boy soldier named My Luck, Chris Abani's new novella is both deceptively understated and harrowing. Read more »

The afterworld

>A second posthumous novel by Suite Française author Irène Némirovsky argues for literature's enduring life
|
(0)

lit@sfbg.com

REVIEW "Stress eternal life." Irène Némirovsky inscribed these words in her diary on July 1, 1942, less than two weeks before she was arrested under Vichy race laws, a month and a half before her death at Auschwitz. She wrote concerning a cycle of novels conceived to reflect the everyday qualities of life during wartime — a portrait emphasizing pettiness and pity, fear and loathing. Read more »

True crime

Documenting an assassination, novelist Francisco Goldman moves from fiction to political fictions
|
(0)

lit@sfbg.com

REVIEW In a July 31, 2007, editorial, the New York Times decried the "more than 5,000 murders ... reported each year" in Guatemala, noting that "many are committed by the same groups — both left and right — that terrorized the country" during its 36-year civil war. Read more »

On the bright side

Bjørn Lomborg tells climate-change worrywarts to chillax in Cool It
|
(0)

amanda@sfbg.com

The most masterful crafters of fiction depend on the deliberate omission of details. Ernest Hemingway, in a 1958 interview with the Paris Review, called it the iceberg of a story, an eighth of which pierces the surface, known and visible, while an untold reality remains submerged beneath the narrative. This art of absentia served Hemingway well, layering his stories with nuance and mystery. Read more »