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Showing posts from 2015

Lygia Fagundes Telles - a delirious and complicated story of feminine affection seen, as one of the friends puts it, in “profile in the misted-over mirror”

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Lygia Fagundes Telles, The Girl in the Photograph, Trans. by Margaret A. Neves, Dalkey Archive Press, 2012.


Complex and hauntingly beautiful, Lygia Fagundes Telles’s most acclaimed novel is a journey into the inner lives of three young women, each revealing her secrets and loves, each awaiting a destiny tied to the colorful and violent world of modern Brazil. Sensual and wealthy Lorena dreams of a tryst with a married man. Unhappy Lia burns with a frantic desire to free her imprisoned fiancé. Glamorous Ana Clara, unable to escape her past, falls toward a tragedy of drugs and obsession. Intimate and unforgettable, The Girl in the Photograph creates an extraordinary picture of the wonder and the darkness that come to possess a woman’s mind, and stands as one of the greatest novels to come out of Brazil in the late twentieth century.

This popular Brazilian novel examines the friendship of three young women during the country’s military dictatorship, in the nineteen-sixties. At first, th…

Lisa Ciccarello - Vulnerable in the darkness as the dead watch behind salt-lined windows, we are led to explore a world of simple objects through a complex fog of cruelty and longing, strength and feebleness, folklore and familial traditions.

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Lisa Ciccarello, At Night, Black Ocean, 2015.
www.lisaciccarello.com/

at issuu

Told in an age we can't quite put our finger on, the poems in Lisa Ciccarello's debut collection twist up from tales of witchcraft and the punishing morals of the Newgate Calendar. Vulnerable in the darkness as the dead watch behind salt-lined windows, we are led to explore a world of simple objects through a complex fog of cruelty and longing, strength and feebleness, folklore and familial traditions. Violence, love, death, jealousy, sex, and shadows fill the pages of AT NIGHT. If you seek comfort, you will find none here.

Incantatory, ruthless, and seductive, the poems in Ciccarello's debut roam a vast and timeless dark. More than a time of day, night represents the environment, mood, and the aesthetic and emotional qualities around which each poem coalesces. Beginning with action spun from intimacy and violence, where "I show you the back of my neck & you spit in your hand," Cicca…

Rosalyn Drexler plunges into the emerging zeitgeist (of the 1970s) with ferocious intelligence & transgressive wit

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Rosalyn Drexler, One or Another, Dell Books, 1971.


The LA Times quote on the cover of "One or Another" says, "An infinite variety of sexual roles, a taboo area that most men would rather sweep under the carpet, the darkest dreams of wish-fulfillment and eroticism -- from voyeurism to group sex." And while this is accurate, it also sounds like a blurb for a typical early 1970s novel, deliberately "shocking" & gleefully hedonistic -- and while that's also accurate to an extent, it's so much more than that. A couple of years before Erica Jong's justly lauded "Fear of Flying", Rosalyn Drexler was exploring some of the same territory -- women & desire, fantasy, sexuality, politics, race, culture -- and in an even more fascinating, acerbic, stunning way.


Miss Drexler made a startling starlet debut with I Am the Beautiful Stranger (1965) and this is a second showy, hip, ingenue performance even though her first person heroine Meliss…

Mustafa Mutabaruka - an intense tale of personal disintegration and the corrosive power of memory revolving around Ulysses Dove, a young African-American dancer struggling to escape the harrowing images of a past dominated by a brutal father, and a grandfather

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Mustafa Mutabaruka, Seed, Akashic Books, 2002.




Written in a tense, halting style that mirrors the strained, unsettling urgency of the protagonist, SEED weaves its competing narratives together into a singular voice in which abrasive violence and lyric beauty frequently overlap, and in which violence and redemption converge toward a common destiny. "Mustafa Mutabaruka's exceptional debut novel SEED has the resonance of a Greek myth and the immediacy of a slashing noir mystery. Moving from a lonely American farmhouse to the bathhouses of Morocco, from a barbarous past tot he sweetness of erotic love, SEED is bleak, brilliant, powerfully hallucinatory"--Joseph Cummins




Memories of abuse and family violence follow young African-American dancer Ulysses Dove as he travels across the world performing, in Mustafa Mutabaruka's debut novel Seed, unsettling and sharp in spite of its familiar subject matter. Forced to bide his time in North Africa after a show is canceled, Dove …

Graeme Gibson - the subversive tale of two guilt-ridden young men. Gibson captures both their mortifications and their spirited resistance to all things WASP, themselves included, in stream-of-consciousness prose that is at once fluid, disjointed, and hilarious

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Graeme Gibson, Five Legs, House of Anansi Press; Second ed., 2013. [1969.]
read it at Google Books


First published by Anansi in 1969, Five Legs was a breakthrough for Canadian experimental fiction, selling 1,000 copies in its first week. At the time Scott Symons wrote that "Five Legs has more potent writing in it, page for page, than any other young Canadian novel that I can think of." Or indeed any young American novel — including Pynchon and Farina.

Five Legs is the subversive tale of two guilt-ridden young men, Lucan Crackell and Felix Oswald — one a professor, the other his student — caught in the grip of the North American Protestant ethic, with its emotional web-spinning and sexual torments. Gibson captures both their mortifications and their spirited resistance to all things WASP, themselves included, in stream-of-consciousness prose that is at once fluid, disjointed, and hilarious. Essential reading for any Canlit junkie, and quite a trip. This edition features a new …

Ithell Colquhoun - the combination of obscure medieval occult references with highly lucid automatic writing techniques. At times the reader is in the dark as to whether Colquhoun is describing a stream-of-consciousness piece of surrealist abstraction or incanting a nefarious spell of sorts

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Ithell Colquhoun, Goose of Hermogenes,Peter Owen Publishers, 2003. [1961.]
www.ithellcolquhoun.co.uk/


The heroine of this fascinating story (described only as ‘I’) is compelled to visit a mysterious uncle, a black magician who lords over a kind of Prospero’s island that exists out of time and space. Startled by his bizarre behaviour and odd nocturnal movements, she eventually learns that he is searching for the philosopher’s stone. When his sinister attentions fall upon the priceless jewel heirloom in her possession, bewilderment turns to stark terror. She realizes she must find a way off the island . . .
Goose of Hermogenes is an esoteric dreamworld fantasy composed of uncorrelated scenes and imagery mostly derived from medieval occult sources. That will repay several readings. Each chapter title in the book has a title relevant to a stage in alchemical progressions. However one wants to approach this obscure tale, it remains today as vividly unforgettable and disturbing as when it was…