Tom Maremaa talks about his new book Chrome and Punishment, a new mash-up of a Dostoevsky classic, including how the book came about, what makes this mash-up different from the original, St Petersburg, Raskolnikov and how he fares in this new version, his new characters, a hint at the ending(s) and more.
Chimera takes us through an account of multiple procedures and setbacks, presented alternately as invasions, imprisonments, and more bluntly, as betrayal by bodily function. His tone is uncomfortably straightforward, as though he is candidly refusing the reader’s sympathy even as he lays out the visceral details:
Anamnesis opens a door into what it means to be human. O’Hagan ponders subjects of perennial relevance in fresh literary ways, always with a convincing naturalness, whether the language is sophisticated or everyday. Even a box of useless items takes on a profound poetic rhythm in O’Hagan’s skilful hands.
Didden’s poetry is thick, like the hot, oozing lava that permeates the land – the “postvolcanic landscape.” We are further drawn in by the history, the tributaries of ancient Icelandic poetry, “its craters of dove-gray ashes matted with snow, / attracts artists who siege eddas in the rills.” These powerful lines draw out the significance of Icelandic poetry in our time.
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Some forty years ago, in Jackson, not far Loring, a similar bottle of Four Roses was opened. It’s a significant detail in this story of the Cole sisters, that ends where it began, that comes full circle, with many detours along the way. Individuals, with marked differences, both sisters are resilient, vulnerable, and passionate, characters so life-like a reader feels “the air making contact with their skin.”
Sam Morley is a brilliant storyteller, the stories in the poems are written in a language that is dynamic and stylistic as well as entertaining. The work evokes emotions, coupled with strong tension, but not in a heavy way.
With a novel this boldly experimental, it is hard to get very far in a discussion of influences without Beckett’s name coming up. But that is just one of the names in a diverse stew. Dinesh said that Beckett and others represent some of the less conscious influences here, and other visionaries more directly inspired the themes, tone, and style of This Place That Place.
Only, how to break into the male-dominated world of film? Not that that was her explicit goal when she graduated, but one thing she did not want to do? “There weren’t many jobs available for a young woman of twenty-one with a degree in comparative literature,” she writes, but she didn’t want to become a secretary. If she did that, “I would irrevocably land on the slippery slope to nowhere.”
The 99 Boyfriends of Micah Summers is not exactly a story begging you to unravel it (the happily ever after is apparent early on) but it does make one thing clear – Adam Sass is just as capable a builder of romance as he is of mystery. And Micah Summers’ story benefits from Sass’s adept management of both genres.