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Showing posts from September, 2020

New Yorker Fiction Review #251: "The Sand Banks, 1861," by David Wright Falade

Review of a short story from the Aug. 31, 2020 issue of The New Yorker...David Wright -- who sometimes writes as David Wright Falade (there should be an accent aigu on the "e" of his last name but I can't figure out how to do that on this keyboard) -- is an American writer who has written a couple of non-fiction books, one of them about the first all-black rescue vessel in the Outer Banks of North Carolina in 1871. The book, called Fire on the Beach (2002), as well as a documentary and some TV journalism work related to the same subject, have earned apparently earned him enough literary street cred that he's now plugging his novel in The New Yorker, via short stories like this.According to the customary "This Week in Fiction" interview, with the author of that week's published New Yorker short story, Falade says the story is "adapted" from his forthcoming novel Nigh on a Border (2022) which takes place in the Outer Banks in the early days of t…

Album Review: Freeze, Melt (2020), by Cut Copy

Australian synth-pop outfit Cut Copy have developed quite a bit since they started making music about 20 years ago. Specifically, they've gone from making 80s-inspired, dance hall, "get you out of your seat" type music to something much more atmospheric and cerebral. But they've always, in my opinion, combined the old and the new, the intellectual and the guttural, and stayed on the cutting edge artistically, better than any other band I know. For me, Cut Copy continue to stand in a league of their own, resisting categorization as they continue to make good albums you want to listen to over and over. The group's latest album, Freeze, Melt, is an eight-song, 40 minute effort that follows on 2017's Haiku from Zero, my personal favorite Cut Copy album. Haiku from Zero was a sprawling, varied album that at times felt like a journey around the world and through time, as the band borrowed from the musical traditions of seemingly every continent but kept it, for the…

New Yorker Fiction Review #250: "Cicadia," by David Gilbert

Review of a short story from the Aug. 24, 2020 issue of The New Yorker...David Gilbert was born in 1967, so I don't think it's fair to call him a "young" writer but there is something about his prose that seems injected with the electricity and aimless existential angst of youth. Or maybe that's just because his short story last week -- "Cicadia" -- is about a group of suburban teenagers goofing off during the summertime. Citing the film Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986) as one of the influences of this story, it reads more like Superbad (2007). The characters steal some weed from a sleeping older brother, they drive around the neighborhood looking for a house party at which to sell said weed. Naturally, one of them is obsessing over a girl who is supposed to be there. Not so naturally, one of them is struggling with whether or not to begin the process from separating himself from his friends who seem bound for mediocrity. It's an interesting enou…