Month: May 2004

  • In a fit of misplaced generosity, Peter Griffin’s asked me to guest blog over at Zigzackly while he shifts house and wheedles the telephone exchange into shifting his phone lines (there’s a sizeable time lag between the two events). Griff’s the kind of guy who’s a great guest. When he drops in at your house, […]

  • Gregory Roberts has a resume that makes DBC Pierre look like an amateur. Roberts was known as the Gentleman Bank Robber, hung out with the bhailog in Bombay, knows jails from the inside out–and ran a street charity alongside. His account of his experiences, Shantaram, is doing pretty well. A Novel View has the most […]

  • Bill McKibben reviews recent books on the environment for the NYRB. He’s singing the jeremiah blues–with reason: “For more than three years now, day after day and week after week, a small circle of political appointees at the EPA, the Forest Service, the Interior Department, and the Department of Agriculture have proceeded methodically to wreck […]

  • Every story Mohja Kahf writes for Sex and the Umma makes me imagine that we’re back in the days of Dickens, with crowds of Kahf-groupies waiting impatiently for the next episode. Much more than any of the experiments I’ve seen over the last few years, including Stephen King’s The Green Mile, Kahf’s relatively low-tech (“Look, […]

  • There’s a new zine/ magazine from Ahmedabad called Crimson Feet. Nice website, and no doubt they’ll fix the minor glitches (the White Paper isn’t accessible yet and their spellchecker missed “collabroative” and yes, I’m being an obsessive, obnoxious, anti-social grinch with a serious case of Proofreader’s Syndrome). It’s good to know they’re out there, though.

  • “This absence of a general, non-academic literary criticism is the speaking void which tells us that writers, though apparently closer than ever to academics, are actually miles from them. The void is the public space that might have been. Many contemporary writers are familiar with the procedures of post-structuralism and deconstruction. They can talk about […]

  • Katharina A Powers begins well: “…[C]orrectness in grammar and usage has become an arid obsession with people of the sort who used to be stern about fish knives, oyster forks, and grape shears. You can’t do anything right around this crowd. But, more than that, I finally see that the popularity of these books is […]

  • I love this passage from The Atlantic’s interview with Brian Greene (The Fabric of the Cosmos): “I think the relationship between memory and time is a very deep and tricky one, to tell you the truth. I don’t consider memory another sense. I do consider memory that which allows us to think that time flows. […]

  • Hari Kunzru’s second novel, Transmission, about a computer virus, Bollywood and California, is making waves already. The New York Times review called him “the entertaining Mr Kunzru” ala the talented Mr Ripley, though I can testify that he has far fewer homicidal tendencies. (The Daily Mirror conversely might argue that he’s pretty good at putting […]

  • I’m enjoying Troy in a perverse sort of way; if the film does nothing else for you, it ought to inspire admiration for what Hollywood’s dialogue writers can do to epic prose. From The Iliad: “But Achilles would not let the Myrmidons go, and spoke to his brave comrades saying, “Myrmidons, famed horsemen and my […]