Brendan is a steady rollin' man.
Reviews & Recommendations
A compelling meditation on fractured identity—across nations, time, and stages of life. Through a hyper-specific dissection of her own experiences, Low achieves a sort of spiritual emancipation from societal and intergenerational bondage—a road trip toward salvation that can be universally appreciated.
Babitz's brief reflections on her freewheelin' youth in L.A. read like a summer breeze through an open car window. Whether laconically recounting childhood memories under composer Igor Stravinsky's tutelage or revealing where and how exactly to find the best taquitos in the city, Babitz transports the reader into what feels like a prehistoric southern California, existing somewhere between Babylon and Manson.
(This book cannot be returned.)
A single day in the life of both 38-year-old Leopold Bloom and 22-year-old Stephen Dedalus transforms the city of Dublin into a modern-day labyrinth populated by everyday figures whose actions and words have implications just as great as those in any biblical, Shakespearean, or mythical story. In the literary world, Ulysses's fraught publication was akin to the arrival of the glaring monolith in Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. Nothing would ever be the same.
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Last Words from Montmarte is a slow burn, unfolding over a series of letters through which the narrator processes her grief after a traumatic breakup. The fragments of her memory function both as a weapon and a prism of clarity, ultimately allowing her to transcend her suffering. The result is a shockingly cathartic depiction of depression and a timeless portrait of the artist.
This book feels like it was beamed in from another planet, or unearthed in some ruined abbey like an ancient holy relic. Musing on the interconnected mysteries of faith, love, and memory, Cha uses both words and images to obliterate the oppressive limitations of time and language in order to reach her mother—suggesting that motherhood, rooted inexorably in paternal submission and self-sacrifice, is the ultimate form of martyrdom, worthy of saintly veneration. Full of grace, immaculately constructed—this is writing at its most sublime.
Qiu Miaojin's debut novel crashes conventions like a fist through a locked window. Written shortly after martial law was lifted in Taiwan in 1987, Qiu's depiction of a lesbian college student and her ring of damaged friends offers a glimpse of Taipei's queer community as it emerged from the underground. The fractured narrative, powered by late-night conversations and dream-like vignettes, resembles that of a punky debut art film; think Wong Kar-wai with a campus meal card.
Frank Stanford never looked at the moon the same way twice. His poetry sneaks up on you like a cottonmouth in a muddy river—on each page of this double-barrelled anthology, you can almost hear the locusts humming and feel the moon's furtive glow. Imbuing local color with a sort of Old Testament spirituality, Stanford was immensely gifted at interpreting the language of the bayou and evoking all the love, lust, music, and murder therein.
ln a depleted Stockton, California, people fight, both in and out of the ring. Sometimes they tussle with each other, sometimes with a bottle, and sometimes with their own frustrated expectations. But they're never totally down for the count—they always get back up and try again. Gardner's prose is as taut and lean as a featherweight boxer—and Denis Johnson's benedictory introduction to this NYRB edition indicates the extent of Fat City's impact (Johnson's slim novella, Train Dreams, is an even more succinct slice of life in a bygone America). The 1972 film adaptation, directed by John Huston and starring Stacy Keach and a young Jeff Bridges, is an undersung knockout as well.
Murakami's best novel employs just about every quirk in his very idiosyncratic arsenal. Though the surface of his novels often give way to subterranean layers—both real and imagined— The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle most effectively thrusts the reader into a dreamlike labyrinth of Japanese history, the banality of waking life, and the redemptive nature of engaging with one's subconscious. Years later, I'm still chasing the thrill of reading Wind-Up Bird for the first time.
A lively and absorbing conversation between friends — one, a misunderstood painter in the sublime second act of his career — the other, a novelist and poet and the only critic who really understood his work. The wellspring of affection that bubbles up between the two is both heartwarming and inspirational.
An absolutely engrossing look at the writing life of a young artist as he mirrors the world around him and revolutionizes the form and function of "pop" music. The addition of supplementary material culled meticulously from the Tulsa archives makes this a must-read for Dylan fans.
I went into this out of interest in bluesmen like Bukka White and Leadbelly and the history of African-American work songs (and of what sounded like mythical institutions, Parchman Farm and Sugarland). I came away enraged at the perpetuation — TO THIS DAY — of racially motivated penal labor in the United States, which trains a particularly cruel focus on Black men.