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A Time for Everything
A Time for Everything
by Karl Ove Knausgård
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.40
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A soaring tale of angels, god and man, June 28, 2012
This review is from: A Time for Everything (Paperback)
Tracing the history of angels through the Bible and historical inquiry encompasses one layer of this novel. Another, connected quest is to tell the fuller lives summarized in several stories from the Book of Genesis. "The only things that have always been remembered are the story of the first people who were driven out of paradise and into the valley, the story of the two brothers Cain and Abel, and the story of the great flood." Angels inhabit these stories, but often as minor characters, with God in all of his Old Testament wrath as the cause of so much anguish.

First, the angels. The author spent a year consumed in angelology, and a world unto itself it certainly is. Thinkers for centuries expended endless effort categorizing, analyzing and pondering these Biblical creatures that exist somewhere between man and God. Artists have provided thousands of paintings and sculptures of these being, and apparently there are still pockets of belief throughout the planet. Who knew?

The novel starts with the story of one Antinous Bellori who saw angels as a lad and spent the rest of his life trying to understand angels, and to find them. His story, including his sightings of angels, is told as straight-forward storytelling without an ounce of skepticism, as are all of the Biblical stories retold in the novel. Who is the narrator, why are we being told these stories? I wondered, but wasn't overly concerned because the storytelling is so well done, and gives considerable back-story to what are short and often difficult to contextualize biblical stories.

Take Noah, for example. If asked to give a short summary of the biblical story, I would emphasize the visuals I have seen so often in pictures: a huge ship with animals walking two-by-two up the grand plank onto the ship with water below. But that is a positive image, a picture of the lucky few. But the real story is of the relentless elimination o everything on Earth except for the few. God is ticked at humanity so determines to kill absolutely every person, including innocent babies, all animals, all plant life, everything. Just because God is ticked at some adults. All adults? All people? All animals and plants too? Kind of over-the-top. And this novel gives us the gruesome details of that mass drowning. The pictures we see emphasize the few that are safe. But virtually all were drowned. Why isn't that the story we remember? "Genesis 6:5 says: When the Lord saw that man had done much evil on earth and that his thoughts and inclinations were always evil ... This is the only explanation the Bible gives for the great flood. But mankind lived there for sixteen hundred years - was its evil constant during all that time?"

That is simply one example of the stories taken from the Bible and given large three-dimensional realities. And all the angels. Angels as real and very substantial, and serving a changing purpose as time goes on. We are provided with a detailed view of Bellori's cosmos of angels and their place in a changing universe between God and man. "It is not the divine that is immutable and the human that is changeable, he wrote. The opposite is true and is the real theme of the Bible: the alteration in the divine from the creation to the death of Christ."

Bellori struggled with these issues both as a man of his time and as someone who had actually seen angels, who had experienced these metaphysical beings as flesh and blood. "Everything connected with the holy is regarded as abstract, so that we literally do not see the materiality of what is holy, whereas everything that concerns physical nature is exclusively seen as concrete, and we lose sight of physical nature's immaterial aspects, too. This was the fault line on which philosophy and theology found itself in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. But the gap between the verifiable and the non verifiable, scripture and the world, which increased with each passing year, was only a symptom, the fever of the age, and not the disease itself...It is only against this backdrop that the real significance of Antinous Bellori can be seen. In On the Nature of Angels, he argues that scripture is only one of the myriad manifestations of the divine, neither more nor less important than the others."

The author is providing a wealth of stories, explaining the history of angels as an example of the philosophical and religious questions that arose in Europe over several centuries, and he keeps this intricate set of tangents very vibrantly alive through hundreds of pages. And then the book shifts, suddenly and violently. We are now in the midst of a first person narrative. A narrator who may be the previous narrator, but the tone is shockingly different. This narrator is on the run, hiding out from something, escaping to a tiny island in Norway. He seems calm enough, and then he takes out a razor and savagely cuts himself: face, arms, torso... He is a bleeding mess. And the book ends. Wow! I haven't a clue what the author meant by this last bit. But I was so engrossed in the first 99% that I'll simply grant him a pass on that last part, though here is a quote from the last bit that is probably intended to provide some of the explanation: "I inhabited a kind of dislocated, Gothic pseudoreality, where instead of relating to the world, with its pure colors and clear shapes, I related to grotesque and artificially animated shadow figures of myself in it."

Tamarisk Row [Sirius Quality Paperbacks]
Tamarisk Row [Sirius Quality Paperbacks]
by Gerald Murnane
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unusual First Novel, June 28, 2012
recently read Murnane's latest novel, Barley Patch,which led me to this, his first. Barley Patch is written after the author decides to stop writing fiction, and only to revisit fiction he has already read. That book weaves a fascinating set of images and memories, many of which seem to be from Murnane's own childhood. Many of those scenes appear in a slightly different form in this novel, written almost 40 years before Barley Patch.

Tamarisk Row is a delicate examination of a boy's life between the ages of maybe 8 and 12. Clement Killeaton is an only child in rural Australia. His mother keeps house while his father has a job in the local mental hospital. But the father's passion is the "science" of horse racing, and breeding Rhode Island Red roosters. The mother barely makes a dent in the world of this novel except to provide a home and understanding to her husband and son. Clement's father is a mild man who neither drinks nor carouses, but he is addicted to the racing sheets and to betting on the horses. Slowly and inexorably this leads the family down further and further financially until they slither out of town in the middle of the night to the far reaches of Australia with the hope that they have left their creditors behind.

This only explains the world of the adults, and that world is merely one of several experienced by Clement. A lonely child without friends, a Catholic in a Protestant town, and the only child of a man deeply in depth to people all over town, Clement experiences the world through a thick fog of his imagination. He translates his father's obsession with horse racing to a fantasy world he creates in the area behind their house. Setting up an intricate race track with stables and other buildings constructed from twigs and similar materials, he assigns pedigrees to his various marbles, transforming each into a race horse, and slowly, exquisitely, stages a race between these marbles/horses as he closes his eyes and moves the marbles before him. He then carefully notes the position of each, reflecting on the changes for each of the marbles as he then closes his eyes again to thrust the pile forward.

The claustrophobic world of a young boy alone with his imagination is delicately told in a world that clearly captures the wonder and helplessness of pre-adolescents. He pulls down his pants with other boys, but why won't the girls do this? Finally he simply pushes one to the ground. "She kicks and punches him silently and savagely, but for two or three seconds while her knee is lifted to aim a kick at him he sees clearly among the biscuit crumbs clinging to her thighs and belly a low white ridge split by a narrow unpromising fissure but with nothing else to distinguish it from the pale slopes around, so that any man or boy who chanced on such a place after years of searching would probably still go on looking for the strange shape that he was really after."

A book that accurately and powerfully resonates with that sound and space of a lonely, imaginative child trying both to figure out the world and to create his own.

by Dick Francis
Edition: Paperback
4 used & new from $7.43

4.0 out of 5 stars First Rate Francis!, June 28, 2012
This review is from: Banker (Paperback)
Each Francis novel has a central character who takes on the responsibility for righting wrongs in the world of horse racing. In this case our narrator is, improbably, an investment banker, though the details of his profession aren't up to Francis' usual high standard. I'm certain he did ample research, but the nuances of the profession are simply wrong. But minor nit, since the investment banking set-up isn't central to the plot.

There are well drawn scenes at Ascot, and the world of horse breeding is presented with such vivid detailing that I could empathize with and appreciate the reason a breeder would stake all on a magnificent horse. Mysteries involve wrong doing, usually murder, but with Francis the horror of the crime and the misery it causes are often shown in short vignettes, just sufficient to drive home the crime. In this book the narrator becomes close to the family that experiences the crimes, and from that unusual closeness we deeply feel the horror of these greed driven crimes, particularly the murder.

As usual, it is the characters and the world of horse racing that are the center of the books, and the villains are easily spotted, if not their motives. But the pathos places this novel near the high point in the Francis opus.

Slay Ride
Slay Ride
by Dick Francis
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.70
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3.0 out of 5 stars Slow, Droll, Francis, June 28, 2012
This review is from: Slay Ride (Paperback)
Dick Francis is a unusual mystery writer in his repetition of setting instead of detective. All of his books revolve around the world of horse racing, in all its tangents. The unusual slice of this milieu explored in the book is Norwegian horse racing, though we see almost nothing of the racing itself, and instead are presented with the personalities that David Cleveland, our narrator and inspector, must interview in order to figure out Who Stole the Money and Who Killed the Jockey. The individual scenes, and particularly the verbal battles between Cleveland and the various jockeys, cops, breeders and insufferable owners are, as usual with Francis, the gems in this book. There is a larger spectrum of idiosyncratic characters, and the unusual Norwegian setting has apparently given Francis the freedom to open-up his characters to fairly extreme eccentricities, including a sex while dancing scene that was simply odd.

The main characters in Francis' books may have different names, but they share many of the same characteristics. They are men connected to horse racing, but often tangentially, and they are intelligent, hard working, sober fellows with a good head on their shoulders. But what saves them from being insufferable bores is a sense of humor and modesty, characteristics much in evidence with David Cleveland.

Murder at the War
Murder at the War
by Mary Monica Pulver
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.95
25 used & new from $1.13

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well Constructed Mystery, June 28, 2012
This review is from: Murder at the War (Paperback)
There are endless mysteries that follow hobbies, and the hobby in this book is fairly unusual, the Society for Creative Anachronism, people who gather together to enact battles in medieval garb, following the customs, food and forms of language typical of the time. While I found this setting less than engaging, I was consistently impressed with the author's technical ability to move a large caste of characters over a substantial amount of territory.

The annual gathering is an opportunity to fight battles using period tactics and weaponry, all strictly monitored to ensure that when "killed" one appropriately left the field for a specified period. The result is a large amount of marching about by great hoards of enactors and monitors. As you would expect, in the middle of this someone is killed and the police (another group trampling about) are called in. We are given well drawn scenes of earnest reenactors and not amused police, leading to culture clashes that overwhelm any effort to identify the killer.

The book meanders, the detecting is not terribly convincing, but it is an enjoyable romp.

The Spanish Holocaust: Inquisition and Extermination in Twentieth-Century Spain
The Spanish Holocaust: Inquisition and Extermination in Twentieth-Century Spain
by Paul Preston
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $26.04
74 used & new from $3.08

46 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not a General History of the Civil War, June 28, 2012
This is an exhausting and emotionally draining book that has a narrow but immensely important goal: to document the nature and extent of atrocities committed during the Spanish Civil War. Preston has spent a long career documenting various aspects of twentieth century Spain, primarily the Civil War. I would call this important book a culmination of his career because he is able to give witness to the hundreds of thousands of victims slaughtered during and after the Civil War.

This book brings together immense amounts of research and archeology by others designed to document exactly who died where under what circumstances. Because the Nationalists (called the rebels throughout the book), who were responsible for most of the killings refused to allow any investigation of atrocities not caused by the Republicans it has only been since the death of Franco that any serious research has been conducted. The investigations continue, despite laws that prohibit pursuing the perpetrators in court.

This book is a chronological description of the deaths, tortures and imprisonments caused by the rebels alternating with sections on abuses caused in Republican Spain. Unlike the other books I have read by this author, this book makes no attempt to provide a bigger picture or context to the violence. Again, this book has a very narrow and focused purpose: to document the atrocities, the holocaust.

Much of the critical response to this book has focused on the title, and his use of the highly charged word holocaust. In the prologue Preston explains why no other word in the English language adequately conveys the widespread, intentional violence committed against a largely civilian population. I understand his point, but by using such a charged word he allows the critical debate to move from the systematic terror intentionally practiced by Franco's troops to a discussion of whether the atrocities rank sufficiently high in 20th Century horrors to deserve this label. That is a shame, because Preston and the dozens of researchers whose information he compiles have performed an important job in recording the extent of the appalling events that occurred throughout the Spanish Civil War, by both sides.

The Lost Bank: The Story of Washington Mutual-The Biggest Bank Failure in American History
The Lost Bank: The Story of Washington Mutual-The Biggest Bank Failure in American History
by Kirsten Grind
Edition: Hardcover
75 used & new from $0.01

37 of 50 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Human Interest Story Lacking Analysis, June 14, 2012
This book covers the personalities and the general story arc of Washington Mutual's rise since the S&L debacle of the late 1980s through to its demise early in the sub-prime mortgage fiasco of 2008. I lived in San Francisco during that time, and remember my surprise when seemingly overnight I went from never having heard of the bank to realizing it had taken over billboards around town and purchased my (30 yr fixed) home loan. What was this institution, where did it come from? And when it spectacularly failed, I wondered what exactly went wrong. I knew it overloaded on home loans that failed, but how did it get so large, and how did regulators allow it to make such a disastrous portfolio of home loans? Given the book's title, The Lost Bank, The Story of Washington Mutual-The Biggest Bank Failure in American History, I expected this book to answer my questions. Did it? Not Really.

The purpose of this book is not described until the epilogue! The author explains that while many books, articles and reports have been published on the details of the sub-prime crisis "many smart people still had no clear idea of how this crisis happened...I set about writing this book for the latter group of people, and I tried to do it in a way that was relatable (sic) to the average person." Apparently, her "average person" doesn't want to be bothered by analysis, or even explanations. Instead she provides simply a story.

She writes that the bank considered entering the CDO market, but neither defines these nor why that was an important issue. I'm not talking about a geeky analysis, simply an explanation and a description of the role and importance of these instruments in the market at the time. There is a reason why even considering entering that business at that time was important, but the author doesn't seem to understand the issue. When Treasury boss Paulson controversially banned naked short selling of the shares of several financial institution, WaMu's boss tried, unsuccessfully, to add WaMu to the list. The naked short ban was a small chapter in the ongoing crisis, but an important one. The author merely says that "naked short selling means that original shares aren't borrowed." This explanation fails to explain why some officials believe it is toxic, while others believe it is unrealistic to think you can stop a market event by banning these instruments.

The first part of the book describes the bank under the leadership of Lou Pepper. This is the idyllic period. Lou is perfect, the bank is a family of nice people, profits rise slowly but continually as the bank makes good loans to good people. The bank is content with its place in the world. We learn zero details about anything during this phase of the bank except that Lou saved the bank from quite possibly going under during the S&L failures of the late 1980s. This portion of the book I found a waste of my time. It wasn't until I reached the source portion of the book that I learned that the author "relied on Lou Pepper's book ... to reconstruct events and to get a feel for the bank over the years." No wonder Lou come off as godlike!

The second part of the book starts when Lou retired, leaving the bank to his hand-picked management team. This group bought every bank they could find, starting small, using a team of specialists that came into the acquired institution Friday afternoon and by Monday morning the bank was re-branded and ready to operate as part of WaMu. At some point the top management of WaMu, a group of relatively unsophisticated individuals, simply lost touch with the expanding empire and it began to spin out of control. Management also became fixated with growth of deposits, branches and loan volume. At some point in the midst of this ludicrously fast growth, the bank apparently lost any semblance of sanity. Way out of control. The problem with this section is that while the story is not conveyed with the mythical storyline of the first section, it is told as a story narrated by a group of people employed by WaMu at the time. That story is lacking in depth and particularly analysis. We are told of scathing internal audits of a particular sub-prime unit within the bank. Apparently the audits went to senior management, period. Not disclosed to the board or regulators? And what exactly does it mean when we are continually told that the problems continued? By the end of this section of the book the bank was primarily making variable rate loans with teaser rates to people who did not qualify for traditional loans, and these loans were based on unverified income. Of course this wasn't going to have a happy ending. What I wanted to know, and still want to know, is why the checks and balances that supposedly exist: rating agencies, financial press, regulators, required public disclosures, board of directors oversight, etc. all failed. Absolutely none of this is discussed in the second part of the book. We learn that WaMu carefully cultivated its mortgage lenders and brokers, and we are then given endless detail about the annual President's Club event to reward the high performers. This description includes lyrics from songs, a listing of treats delivered to the hotel rooms, on and on. But an analysis of WaMu versus other banks in its use of these individuals in business development, how this changed over time, how they were supervised. Nothing. Just party details!

The third part of the book is the crash, and this is a day-by-day look at the bank's implosion. It is a detailed factual discussion of who did what when based on the reports and disclosures from the myriad investigations and lawsuits resulting from the crash. It was helpful to see what was going on within WaMu during each of the days when AIG was being bailed out, Lehman collapsed, Congress resisted authorizing the $700 billion bailout. The whole mess. In this portion of the book we hear endlessly (too much, actually) about the turf battle between FDIC and OTS, and finally we even hear something about the WaMu board of directors. But this whole section is the denouement. I want the causes, and I want some analysis of what went on. I received neither.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 18, 2012 6:52 PM PDT

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
by Ben Fountain
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.05
136 used & new from $1.98

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Novella on Steroids, June 5, 2012
A squad of US Army guys are caught on tape during a battle in Iraq. A few moments on film, but it goes viral and the group is returned to the US for a two week hero blitz before they are airlifted back to the war. The book takes place during a few hours at the old Dallas Cowboys Stadium during a Thanksgiving home game. The book has some wonderful, though hardly original, juxtapositions between the war as experienced by these boys and the blood-lust of fans, players and the elite box holders, but it is a narrow story that gets old half way through the book.

The language is lively, and has innumerable witty descriptions. "A pale spongy Twinky of a human being." "Dainty loafers that appear to be made of pliable chocolate bars." Strippers who "have the tough slizzard look of the club pro." "Destiny's Child has arrived, the current undisputed world champs of mass-market pop, Colored Girl Division." "Heirloom quality cowboy boots." And the endless need of the public to thank our heroes for avenging our shame in 9-11 "nina leven."

So it is lively, has an interesting, and thought provoking, theme. But at 300+ pages, it simply drags on way too long.

by Toni Morrison
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.44
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Short Story Hidden in this Novella, June 5, 2012
This review is from: Home (Hardcover)
The main character is Frank, a twenty-four year old African American veteran of the US Army in Korea. He is confused, angry, guilty and adrift in a deeply racist country from which he is estranged. We are given fragments of his life as he travels across the country to rescue his sister, Cee, after receiving a letter saying "Come fast. She be dead if you tarry."

I found Frank, as presented by the narrator, to be less than three-dimensional. I can certainly understand that one can be both dangerously angry, barely under control, yet at the same time be introspective and deliberate, but the jerky juxtapositions of these contrasting facets of his personality didn't gel for me. Frank never comes alive. But what his travels and thoughts did accomplish was to vividly frame the world of his childhood, and this provided the necessary background for the very powerful, and completely successful description of a rural tiny town inhabited by a few poor African American families. As children Frank and his buddies couldn't wait to leave the boring town, and eagerly enlisted, one of the only options available. Cee leaves the town for similar reasons.

The two were raised by their strict grandmother who insisted that they adhere to standards and customs that had nothing to do with where or how they were actually living. Aspire for better, they were instructed, defined as little more than more money, more possessions. Spiritually this left them adrift and confused. Until Frank returns to the town with the gravely ill Cee we share Frank's alienation from the town. After you have been to large cities, seen the world, it is difficult to return to a tiny town with no paved streets and no work other than working long hard days with your body picking and lifting. The reader feels that Frank and Cee have failed in their quest to escape to a bigger, better world.

At that exact moment what I refer to as the hidden short story gloriously emerges. Because first Frank, and then when she is better, Cee, realize that this town is filled with magical women who understand life, and what is important. They have watched Frank and Cee flounder about as kids, but there was nothing they could do. Only by going out into that bigger world with its illusions of more equals better could they learn to appreciate what is important. And they did.

Frank realizes that this town is home. A place where he can simply relax without fear. "Time to roll a cigarette just so, time to examine vegetables with the eye of a diamond cutter. And time for old men to gather outside a storefront and do nothing but watch their dreams go by; the gorgeous cars of criminals and the hip-sway of women." And Cee? She is nursed back to life by the women of the town. "Those weeks at Miss Ethel's house, surrounded by those women with seen-it-all eyes. Their low expectation of the world was always on display. Their devotion of Jesus and one another centered them and placed them high above their lot in life." It centers Cee also. By the end of the book we are relieved to see that Frank is relatively safe and settled, but we confidently know that Cee will be the Miss Ethel of the next generation, assuring that the soul of that town, and its folk, are loved, respected and safe.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 26, 2013 8:00 AM PST

Masscult and Midcult: Essays Against the American Grain (New York Review Books Classics)
Masscult and Midcult: Essays Against the American Grain (New York Review Books Classics)
by Dwight Macdonald
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.44
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars When High Culture Reigned, June 5, 2012
NYRB, the publisher of this and over 300 other volumes, has as its mission in life to reprint important books that are no longer in print. In general I have found their selections to be very interesting, and this volume is no exception. But unlike other reprint houses, NYRB includes excellent introductions that place the book in prospective, explaining the reception of the book when it was first published, and providing biographical detail about the author. I particularly liked this introduction by Louis Menand.

Mr. Menand reminds the reader of the battles fought by intellectuals during the 1930s over the role of the arts, including literature, in the ideological battles of the time. For a short time Macdonald was a Marxist and then, apparently mostly to be contrary, a follower of Trotsky. He struggled as a writer first for Fortune magazine and then with publications more in tune with his sensibilities. As presented in this collection he had only one subject: the lack of standards in literature and reporting. He was a purist who refused to lower his standards to popular taste. He was part of the elite, and proud of it. His cause, his crusade, was the imperative that High Culture retain a purity and not allow itself to be degraded by the impure, the lesser, the hordes. Mr. Menand's introduction reminds us of the larger world into which Mr. Macdonald launched these snarly missiles. This is particularly helpful with the essay Parajournalism, an incoherent rant against Tom Wolfe and a tongue-and-cheek article he wrote about the New Yorker and its editor William Shawn. It is rather a shame that this essay is included because it makes Macdonald look like a tone-deaf loon. Not to see the humor in Wolfe's essay is hard to understand. Wolfe found Macdonald's weak spot, his red-flag-infront-of-the-bull, and Macdonald dutifully ran straight at it. The result is an embarrassing essay, but one that is at least somewhat understandable after reading the introduction.

Again, the sole theme of these essays is the importance of High Culture. Updating the Bible is a lyrical essay on the beauty of the King James Bible. New editions (and he is reviewing the Revised Standard Version) are often evidence of an officiousness, plucking "imaginary or microscopic bits of fluff off coat lapels" in order to have a Bible that linguistically pure, while at the same time striving for language understood by the everyman, resulting in a translation that is exact and literal. What is lost is the poetry, the beauty. And what is the harm in having beautiful sentences that require the reader to ponder the language and its meaning? In this essay, and only this essay, he makes a well articulated plea for a work of art that should be left alone in its beauty and majesty.

I also liked the essay The Book-of-the-millinnium Club. He is making fun of the over-the-top project to inject Culture and Learning into the veins of US consumers in one huge gulp. The argument behind the 100 pound Great Books is that the consumer (reader somehow doesn't seem the appropriate term) need not fret about which books will strengthen his or her brain. That difficult decision has been make, and for a low monthly payment you can own every word of every book that has ever been published that is necessary for your intellectual betterment. In 2012, as I write this review, the entire concept seems wacky, but large numbers of these things were sold, and Macdonald does a good job of humorously skewing the whole enterprise.

The remainder of the articles I found pompous, narrow-minded and spiteful. And again, there is only one narrow theme: High Culture must be preserved against the hordes at the gate. The first problem with this concept is the definition of High Culture. It means white male New York of European heritage. He lambasts Websters Unabridged 3rd edition because, unlike the 2nd, it is a recording instrument and not an authority. There is a right and wrong way to say things, and it is the role of a dictionary to enforce the old rules, the long established definitions. If 90% of people give one definition to a word but the elite 10% (aka eastern establishment white males) have a different definition, of course the later is the only one that should appear in a dictionary.

He simply drips with condescension for anyone not of this elite. It never seems to have occurred to him that this is classist, racist, sexist, etc. Nope. In a review of Cozzens' only best-seller, Macdonald wonders how such an impenetrable book could sell so many copies. "How do those matrons cope with it, I wonder...perhaps their very innocence in literary matters is a help - an Australian aboriginal would probably find Riders of the Purple Sage and the Golden Bowl equally hard to read."

Many people yearn for the good-old-days of literary criticism, and I assume that includes writers such as Macdonald. I for one am heartily thankful that we have passed through that era.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 9, 2015 11:01 PM PDT

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