Rediker is a professor, activist, and historian of the Atlantic slave trade. Writing in a contemporary and progressive way, he reveals this man’s courageous cry against the unfairness, brutal cruelty, and inexcusable ambivalence toward slave labor in all its forms. Lay is presented as an exemplar, and the author tells us how he was determined to devote “a study all its own” to Lay after discovering him in previous research.
Still hammering away at the keyboard at age 74, T.C. Boyle still maintains his place as America’s grand poobah of literary fiction, particularly displaying his mastery in the short story genre; and this most recent collection of 13 tightly crafted slices of life intermixed with occasional forays into his beloved magical realism prove that he is still at the top of his game.
There is a clear narrative arc that drives the reading forward quickly, but the writing is so sensual and languid that it creates a resistance to that progression. So much transformation happens in the gaps between the action – looking at the ocean, in the silent space of memory, in a moment after birth while looking into a newborn’s face, or even small moments of mindfulness such as noticing the pure green of a paediatrician’s jumper, or a seaweed crown “mossy garlands the circumference of an adult head” floating on the surface of the water.
The language of the novel is captivating and Lutsyshyna creates deep characters and vivid storyline twists while unlocking her talent as a perceptive poet. Lutsyshyna’s depictions of nature landscapes are truly prose poetry.
Deceptively easy to read, One day we’re all going to die is a rich, complex book that encompasses family and connection, friendships, privilege, survival in the face of inherited trauma, Judaism, culture, modern life, and the healing power of creativity. If that seems like a lot, it doesn’t feel like it. Hearst handles it all with ease, and the book is a light-hearted joy.
The title, Live in Suspense, is an exhortation, a demand that we live in suspense as he attempts to do. He explores suspense as an artefact, quoting Emily Dickinson and Oscar Wilde, Dickinson emphasizing the unending nature of suspense and the contrast of “annihilation” and “immortality,” Wilde calling suspense “terrible,” then saying, “I hope it will last.”
The erstwhile Poet Laureate of Colorado talks about the life of a Poet Laureate & that monster paycheck, Marked Men and the Sand Creek Massacre, A nightmare with Colonel Chivington, William Carlos Williams and Ted Kooser, “Buy local” *What’s a good poem?* Creepy metaphors, Wergle Flomp, University teaching; graduate poets, when bad poetry hits big and much more.
As the fast-paced story unfolds in a movie-like style in a fictitious country that Kimindero calls “Mother Nyeka”, the reader is presented with an opportunity to question and smell the crudeness, controversies and dishonesties of some of the characters. For instance, Watoro mockingly refers to Kimendero as “Minister of Fairness”, a former government official who happens to have been jailed at one time for misappropriating public funds.
The collection gives us a cohesive, quiet voice of a narrator who seems at times to not necessarily want to talk to us. We’re faced with an internal negotiation, and perhaps finally reconciliation, with one’s own version of truth. The loops of memory – there is repetition in many of the poems – tease us with the fact that history is only ever a partial account of events.
Restless Dolly Maunder is an easy and fast-paced read. It may be labelled as fiction, and certainly Grenville uses all of her narrative capabilities to create such a compelling character, but the book is as much a story of Australia’s history as it is the tale of a strong, intelligent and thwarted woman whose struggles helped transform the lives of generations to follow.