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28 march 2015

An interesting dynamic explored in Georgie Carroll's Mouse is that mice and rats, which are definitely separate in taxonomic terms and strongly distinguished in many cultures, run together quite a bit in others; in Japan, according to Carroll, mice and rats occupy the same cultural niche, and often share the same common name.     read more

23 march 2015

La scomparsa di Patò is an outrageous exercise in intertextuality. It's so much just plain fun that one might overlook its considerable postmodernist complexities. It's in the Italian tradition of serious play that connects Pirandello to Sciascia to Dario Fo to Amara Lakhous. I was going to say that it also shows Andrea Camilleri as much more than a detective writer, except that it's a detective story par excellence, and anyway, what could be higher-brow than an intricately hall-of-mirrory crime novel?     read more

22 march 2015

The Crossover, Kwame Alexander's verse novel, came out of nowhere in January to win the Newbery Medal. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt didn't print enough copies for me to get one till March, though when I did I liked the cover, orange and textured like a basketball. Judging the book by it works fine, because there's a lot of basketball inside.     read more

21 march 2015

I've never seen The Comedy of Errors onstage, though I've read it several times, I've read Plautus's Menaechmi, its source, and I've seen Rodgers & Hart's musical version The Boys from Syracuse, which I almost called "contemporary" till I realized it's almost 80 years old.     read more