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Showing posts from December, 2017

New Yorker Fiction Review #192: "Two Ruminations on a Homeless Brother" by David Means

Review of a short story from the May 1, 2017 issue of The New Yorker...

This is one of those short stories that's almost too high-minded and experimental for it's own good. And yet in my opinion, it does still "work" and the writer accomplishes what he was going for, even if the second part of the piece (you can't really call this a story) is more of a long, run-on sentence with a seemingly infinite repetition of the phrase, "It's not just that..."

What is really neat about this piece is the way David Means looks at homelessness, or rather a homeless man, from two different perspectives. The first perspective is the lens through which people might see this man on the street and then how it affects them internally. The second perspective is a much closer one, that of the brother of a man suffering from opiate addiction.

I particularly liked the way David Means cataloged the different reactions a person could conceivably have to seeing a homeless pers…

Book Review: Magpie Murders, by Anthony Horowitz

Stumbled upon this book in my favorite way to stumble upon books, via a suggestion from a friend.

In a world populated by "meta" fiction (stories about storytelling, stories within stories, etc.) Magpie Murders (2016) by Anthony Horowitz, is about as meta as it gets. In fact, it's even more meta than it gets, and I'll explain how. 
The book is essentially divided into two parts. Part One is an English "cozy" detective story that takes place in the 1950s in a small, sleepy, fictional English town. Someone dies mysteriously in an otherwise calm and boring community...and whodunit?? But...Magpie Murders ads a fun twist by setting that story within the context of a modern day murder. You see, the author of the English "cozy" is himself murdered, and the book's publisher gets to play the detective and figure out whodunit! Whoaaa! META! 
Not a bad plot, but the second part -- the part that takes place in the modern day -- is about 100 pages too lon…