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28 february 2015

One of my favorite parts of Thomas Pynchon's Crying of Lot 49, at least in my sophomoric college days, was an imaginary synopsis of a Jacobean revenge tragedy. It was a pastiche, of course, but when reading a real play like Webster's White Devil, a lot of the fun lies in imagining it summarized by Thomas Pynchon.     read more

19 february 2015

L'écluse nº 1 starts with a drunken man falling into the title body of water. We figure he's a goner. When they fish him out, he's very much alive, but complains of falling onto another drowner. They fish the second drowner out, we figure him for dead too, but he's equally alive.     read more

12 february 2015

Cece Bell's lightly fictionalized graphic memoir El Deafo is a Newbery Honor Book for 2015. As in last year's Medal winner Flora and Ulysses, the protagonist is a loner of a preteen girl who imagines her way into a comic-book universe to cope. But in El Deafo, the girl is Cece Bell herself, who grew up to become a comic book artist. The exigence and ethos of El Deafo press a bit more insistently on the reader.     read more

11 february 2015

Measure for Measure is famously a "problem play," and it has a lot of problems, quite apart from the darkness and ambiguity that place it in that category.     read more