Tell Me How Long the Train’s Been Gone was not well-received when it was published and was compared unfavourably to Baldwin’s earlier work. Now there is a push to go back to it and appreciate it for the excellent book it is.
The original Aztec word relates to five ‘worthless’ days at the end of the yearly cycle. Children born during these days were thought not to amount to much and be doomed to poverty and ill luck; these children were referred to as ‘nenoquich’.
There’s something very comforting to me about children’s books that rhyme. I grew up with Dr Suess and Mother Goose and I was read to before bed every night. It was rhyming stories that rocked me to sleep and it was rhyme that I first learned to read before I was formally taught to.
When I was initially planning this post, I was only going to review only The Things They Carried, but after reading In the Lake of the Woods, I think they go together thematically and both share a focus on war and the aftermath of it. And so I’ll discuss both here.
This book may have been published just last year, but the writer, Robert Wynne-Simmons, is actually the screenwriter for the 1971 British horror film of the same name. So this book is a novelization of a movie that is over fifty years old.
The feelings of hatred that lie at the novel’s foundation form a complex statement about class and the divisions between the classes.
After reading it, I don’t think I’ll be reading much — or any — more of Simon’s work, but at the same time that didn’t render this novel a complete waste of time.
Who Has Seen the Wind is a boyhood in a space where the farm meets a just-developing urban reality. There’s an extensive cast of characters and a stream of events that flow as steadily and relentlessly as the passage of time, as Mitchell captures the insular nature of village life.
I hadn’t heard about Rosemary Tonks until lately when I skimmed part of an article about her in The New Yorker. It wasn’t so much her style or subject matter that drew me to her work. It was the fact that she seemed so dead set on destroying it.
What I admired most about Anderson’s writing was his ability to take a subject that seems so simple — like two children playing the dozens and going fishing — and turn it on its head. He layers meaning on top of meaning on top of meaning until every narrative is rich and strays far from just the subject at hand into a complex tapestry of politics, tension, and the injustices of the world at large.