Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese. Vintage. 667 pp. $15.95. The one time I formally studied creative writing, in a class with Reynolds Price my freshman year at Duke University, he encouraged us to pay special attention to openings. “It doesn’t have to be ‘Rape!’ screamed the Duchess’ every time,” he said, “but you want … Continue reading Doctoring the Story
Hunt for the Wilderpeople a film by Taika Waititi. With Sam Neill, Julian Dennison, Rima Te Wiata Why should we watch yet another movie about a grouchy old white guy who takes up with a minority youth and teaches him how to survive in a difficult world? For one thing, the old white guy is … Continue reading Two in the Bush
Stimp Hawkins, 1933-2016 My friend Stimp Hawkins died in mid-June, but I just found out, almost by accident, this past weekend. He’d gotten in touch with me several months ago to let me know about an article that had just come out about his new career as what he called a death pimp, and we … Continue reading Unrepeatable Miracle
The Blake Project: Eternity’s Sunrise: The Imaginative World of William Blake by Leo Damrosch. Yale University Press. 332 pp. In my last post in the Blake project, I spoke of a book that my wife was reading but that I had avoided because I wanted to explore my own reading of Blake’s work. That strategy … Continue reading Becoming the True Self
Swiss Army Man. A film by Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert. With Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe. People say this about movies all the time, but in this case I feel fully confident: you’ve never seen anything like Swiss Army Man. Hank (Paul Dano) has somehow gotten stranded on the proverbial desert island. He has … Continue reading He’s the Best Friend I’ve Ever Had. He Does Fart a Lot. He’s Also Dead.
The Last Samurai by Helen DeWitt. New Directions. 484 pp. $18.95 I can’t remember when I’ve had such mixed feelings about a novel. There is an assumption behind this book that people with higher IQ’s, or people who have more knowledge, are superior individuals, who don’t have to deal with the rest of us. There … Continue reading Mommy and I Are So Damn Brilliant