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State of Wonder, a review

As a novelist I am very impressed with the challenges Ann Patchett shouldered when she set out to write STATE OF WONDER. Granted, my knowledge of Ms. Patchett is limited to information found on the dust jacket and the enjoyment I took several years ago when I read BEL CANTO. But nothing from either of those sources suggests how she could so realistically create a protagonist who has an Indian father, is a skilled gynecological surgeon and an experienced pharmacological … Continue reading

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A Late Quartet, movie recommendation

If you enjoy classical music and character-rich stories don’t miss A LATE QUARTET, a movie that arrived Friday at the Minor in Arcata. Starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Christopher Walken, Mark Ivanir and Catherine Keener it is directed by Yaron Zilbeman. The Fugue, a famous string quartet, is turning twenty-five, and like a marriage or a family that has been together for a long time, cracks are beginning to show. In spite of the A-list actors the movie is an ensemble … Continue reading

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Many are criticizing the National Rifle Association’s response to the recent shootings in Newtown, Connecticut. I wish to say a few words in defense of this organization. The NRA statement that “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” is a core American belief, a slogan that belongs alongside “e pluribus unum” and “In God we Trust.” This has been true from the men who gathered at Lexington and Concord … Continue reading

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GALORE a novel by Michael Crummey, my review

There are two epigraphs at the beginning of this marvelous novel. The first, being from Gabriel García Márquez, suggests we’ll encounter strains of magic realism in the pages ahead. The second, being from Psalms, hints that the book promises a rich language, a unique cadence and an emphasis on story as opposed to character. Both, it turns out, are appropriate. GALORE is set on “the shore” in far Newfoundland in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The country is wild, … Continue reading

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OPEN CITY, a novel by Teju Cole. My Review

Here is a link to the review published in the North Coast Journal in May, 2012:  

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Among those of us waiting on the river bank one was a drunken woman. The rest of us understood but she was still confused, demanding of us: “Where am I? Why am I here?” We ignored her, as if she wasn’t there at all. Finally the ferryman emerged from the mist poling his raft. He pushed up to the small pier and motioned to us. We crowded onto the raft but the woman hesitated. “Step on, sister,” the ferryman said. … Continue reading

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