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Showing posts from May, 2015

New Yorker Fiction Review: "The Apologizer" by Milan Kundera

Issue: May 4, 2015 Rating: $$ Review: It took me five years and three separate attempts to finish Milan Kundera 's famous novel, The Unbearable Lightness of Being , but in spite of that, quotes and insights from that book still rattle round my head on a weekly basis. What I mean to say is: my feelings on Kundera are very similar to my feelings on Haruki Murakami . I enjoy reading his work, but in small doses, like this short story. Like Murakami, Kundera uses elements of magical realism, but where in a Murakami story you might encounter a flying dolphin or a disappearing hotel or a person who has lived his whole life in the same room, refusing to leave, Kundera's magical realism offers more direct insights and perspective on real life. In Kundera's worlds, time and space are malleable and everything that ever happened in history is happening at the same time, and the narrator is a completely omniscient, caring, witty, and hands-on god-like being. And so it is w

FIFA Officials Arrested: Where we go from here, no one knows...

Photo by Pascal Mora, for the New York Times This news is so big, I don't even know how to properly digest it right now or give any guess as to what the implications will be, but with FIFA elections coming up the very least there's a strong chance sitting president Sepp Blatter may have to hit the bricks, and none-too-soon for many people who have been outraged by FIFA's antics for years. New York Times article here:

New Yorker Fiction Review: "Peacetime" by Luke Mogelson

Issue: April 27, 2015 Story: "Peacetime" by Luke Mogelson Rating: $$$ Review: I like a raw, gritty story. I like an original voice. I like writing that disorients me for a moment, takes me a few paragraphs or pages to get used to, and then sucks me in and doesn't let me go until the last word. Therefore, I found a lot of entertainment and value in "Peacetime," by Luke Mogelson. "Peacetime" is set in modern day New York City (lot of NYC stories lately, right??) and takes place over the course of a few weeks in the life of the narrator, whom we know only as Papadopoulos, an Iraq war veteran who is now a paramedic, living in the Armory on Lexington Avenue in Manhattan. Estranged from his wife and living on the fringes of what might be called "normal" society, Papadopoulos has returned from the horrors of the Iraq war only to face equivalent horrors -- some of them really unthinkable -- every day in his job right here at home. When he

New Yorker Fiction Review: "Major Maybe" by Ann Beattie

Issue: April 20, 2015 Story: "Major Maybe" by Ann Beattie Rating: $$ Review: "Major Maybe" is a bittersweet and poetic little morsel* by a well-decorated veteran of the American literary fiction scene. Even if the story does feel a little under-wrought and lopsided -- it starts out as if it's going to be an actual "story" but then morphs into sort of a prose poem and ends abruptly -- the emotions it evokes at the end make it worth the read. The story is narrated by an unnamed female narrator in her early 20s who lives with her bi-sexual actor friend, Eagle Soars, in an apartment in New York City in the 80s. The two live the kind of romantic, bohemian, young-in-NYC life that everyone (most people) dream of and that a few people actually get to live. They are broke. They are trying to become actors. They sit outside and drink cheap wine and watch their kooky neighbors. They even hook up once in a desperate moment of wine-fueled lust. Major M

New Yorker Fiction Review: "Apollo" by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Issue: April 13, 2015 Story:   "Apollo" by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Rating: $/Meh Review: CNA was one of the first authors I ever reviewed as part of my on-going project to review every story in the NYer since I started back in early 2013. Her story "Checking Out," from the March 18, 2013 issue, underwhelmed me  due to its somewhat thinly-drawn character. This story underwhelms me for a different, though I suppose somewhat related reason, but is not without some real value. Set partly in modern-day Nigeria and partly in 1970s Nigeria, the story is told by a middle-aged man named Okenwa as he visits his elderly parents and examines his relationship with them through an incident that happened in his childhood. His parents, now as then, are bookish, cold, and completely devoted to one another, so that they form a completely singular unit. As an adult, he is wearied by their lack of understanding of him; they keep asking him if and when he's going to get

The Very Definition of the Word "Hubris".... Newcastle United interim manager John Carver saying that he thinks he's the best coach in the Premier League. But you know what...I like it. Be proud and cocky even in defeat. Go down swinging. I just wish some of it would rub off on his players...

Great Article on Chelsea's "Tactical" Success

If having a team stacked with world class talent is a "tactic" then yes, Roman Abramovich and Jose Mourinho are tactical geniuses... This article isn't about tactics at all, really, but about the players that came together over the past nine months to create a league winner and one of the best Chelsea sides in history if not the best. While tactics obviously come into play, to me the real achievement is assembling the right kind of talent: a team that will gel together and that, under the right manager, can be asked to perform week in and week out. We've all seen the perils of over-spending on a team of over-blown egos and watching them bumble around underachieving while better-motivated and hungrier teams leap past them to success. Look at Manchester United this year, for example, or the Yankees during the mid-2000s.  Chelsea won the league

Nigel Pearson "Ostrich" Flap

Pearson making "happy face" English football's latest dust-up isn't something that happened on the field, but rather happened when Leicester City manager Nigel Pearson called a reporter an ostrich and accused him of keeping his head in the sand. I don't see what the big deal is, frankly. If you listen to Pearson's original "rant"  it's pretty tame in comparison to the stuff American football coaches are known to let-fly with on a regular basis. And I always thought the English press were supposed to be so much more brassy and unflappable (no pun intended). A day after the incident, Pearson apologized and then a different reporter  took him to task over the incident  for a good five minutes, doing everything short of publicly flogging the guy. Even without the benefit of visuals, you could hear the blood welling in Pearson's face as he was forced to sit there like a contrite schoolboy taking his lumps.