It’s Been A Long Time Coming

I grumble here quite a bit about the state of creative writing in the U.S., don’t I? And that sets me to considering what’s behind my grumpiness. One of my best finds in literature in the past fifteen years or so is that of South Africa. South Africa, you’d say? Yes. Check out this list,…

Oh, the Difference!

  According to a number of studies, men tend to prefer reading non-fiction and women fiction. Why is that? I’m treading on dangerous turf in genderizing reading habits, but here goes. Despite the advances women have made world-wide in social issues, politics, and the job market, it remains a men’s world – for the time…

Standing Around In Search of a Story

  I remember reading somewhere that a story isn’t really a story if its characters aren’t sharply defined, and so when I began my first novel, I chipped away the dross of my characters before writing the first word. Not so with the novel being examined here, I imagine. Haslett’s project seems to be to…

A Family in Circles

  Imagine Me Gone, by Michael Haslett Much has been made of family foibles in literature, going back at least as far as Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. You know, all unhappy families are unhappy in unique ways. Or something like that. Haslett’s work here purports to be about the effects on this family’s three children, Celia,…

Battery Park Book Exchange and Champagne Bar

Take heart, dear writer. You’ve worked for a year, perhaps more, writing that novel, and by the saints, you landed a publisher! Here’s the book lying beautifully in your hand. But what to do now? This dilemma confronts many writers like you, and that includes yours truly. Asheville is a hard place to summon some…

The Man Booker Shortlist – 2018

As you know, the list has spread its wings a bit to include any book written in English. This has been a terrible reading year for me, so I can’t venture an opinion on any of these. Can you? Discuss. The 2018 shortlist of six novels Author (country/territory)               …

The Nine Lives of Literature

  If you were to GOOGLE “Is literature dead?” you would find that question asked in quite a few forums. The consensus? No, literature is NOT dead, and the authors of the question give many reasons. Literature, while there is the ancient Aristotlean idea of conflict-rising action-climax-denouement, or falling action, the art form has proven…