Posted at 05:15 AM

Gilead By Marilynne Robinson Published: November 28, 2004 Pulitzer Prize Winner, Fiction, 2005 It seems an odd choice for a Pulitzer, at least on the surface a mundane-seeming clergyman's story. Last year's winner, Edward P. Jones' The Known World...

Full commentary on "Gilead"

The Fever,
Wallace Shawn

This little play, Wallace Shawn's monologue of 112 pages, rocked me when I first encountered it at the Vancouver Fringe Festival sometime in the mid '90s. Perhaps I'll add some commentary later, but for now, try these links: A reading...

Full commentary on "The Fever"

The Crimson Petal and the White,
Michel Faber

Posted at 07:34 PM

Epic (944 pages!) novel set in Victorian England. Reads well, and more quickly than one might expect with such a chunky volume. Unlike other somewhat revisionist time-pieces, everyone here regardless of gender or class comes off somewhat doltish, though victimhood...

Full commentary on "The Crimson Petal and the White"

A Wizard of Earthsea,
Ursula K. LeGuin

Posted at 05:26 PM

Book one in a popular and critically acclaimed trilogy (The Tombs of Atuan, The Farthest Shore). Only The Lord of the Rings is a more strongly written fantasy. However, Ursula K. LeGuin's story is a more personal tale with political...

Full commentary on "A Wizard of Earthsea"

The Fever,
Wallace Shawn

Posted at 06:04 AM

This play can be devestating to a complacent psyche. Delivered as a monologue, the un-named, un-gendered protagonist, wealthy and well-placed, describes the events and conditions leading to an emotional breakdown in "some third-world country where my language isn't spoken." The...

Full commentary on "The Fever"

The Trade Mission,
Andrew Pyper

Posted at 02:22 AM

A friend of mine is a publishing industry publicist here in Vancouver. Publishers send her boxes of books she distributes to local media types who might be interested in reviewing the book or, even better, interviewing the author. Generally, she...

Full commentary on "The Trade Mission"

The Polished Hoe,
Austin Clarke

Posted at 01:15 PM

I'm just a few dozen pages into this book, so I'll comment more later. For now, I'll just say it's an interesting take on post-abolition plantation life in the US South. The Hoe in question, sharpened to a fine point...

Full commentary on "The Polished Hoe"

A Widow for One Year,
John Irving

Posted at 01:13 PM

A reviewer in Amazon thoroughly panned this book. It's not that bad. On the other hand, there's not much to recommend it over most of John Irving's catalogue, especially A Prayer for Owen Meany or The World According to Garp....

Full commentary on "A Widow for One Year"