Eye Pouches

Graham Greene buried this great description in the middle of a paragraph in A Burnt-Out Case: “The pouches under his eyes were like purses that contained the smuggled memories of…

Co-opting the Alternative

Pynchon may be documenting the end of a specific era in American life in Inherent Vice, but there is a universal resonance in his description in which the mainstream co-opts…

In Place of a Soul…

I read the sci-fi book Leviathan Wakes as a bit of a palate cleanse after the intensity of McTeague. Yet in the midst of this potboiler (I am using that…

Hammett’s Red Harvest

The plot of Red Harvest, by Dashiell Hammett, plays out, in a microcosm, for larger events in the U.S. What starts the main sequence of events in the book is…

A Legacy of Annihiliation

Palahniuk takes an expansive approach to the culling song in his book Lullaby. For those who have not read the book, it features a bedtime poem, the recitation of which…

Damn that Palahniuk

Chuck Palahniuk does things that should not work. There is a quality to his writing that is prima facie absurd. It shouldn’t work. Kurt Vonnegut was the same way. It…

The Screwfly and the Y

I recently read “The Screwfly Solution” by James Tiptree Jr., although I think it was published under a different psuedonym, Raccoona Sheldon, all pen names for the actual person Alice…

One Fat Englishman

One Fat Englishman, by Kingsley Amis, was a decent read – but it was one of those works where reading plodded along, drawn more by the thought of finishing the…