Ian’s New Gambit

Sweet Tooth, by Ian McEwan One thing I enjoy about what we call this particular version of postmodern literature is the tinkering with structure, and McEwan is a master of that talent. Too, he, like most gifted writers, is a student of human tics, psychology, the subtleties that make us unique, and he’s clearly mastered…

The Last Plaint on Family

We all seem to have overdeveloped expectations of family during childhood, and then when we’re older, we compensate by being overly critical of those who bear similar seed. But, even later, if we’re not too headstrong, we’ll forgive and settle in at some appropriate emotional distance from one another.

If You Escape

Tarbaby families, that’s what I call it, that’s the thing we despise most in life, if we take the time to think about it. They won’t let you go, won’t let you be who you are, and even when you’re older and maybe a little more removed, you still can’t let it go.

Mirroring Characters

Anna Karenina – Section Five, by Leo Tolstoy I mentioned Tolstoy’s contrasting his characters in the last post, and I want to treat that in more detail. But first, a bit about the storyline in this section: The section opens anticipating Kitty and Lévin’s wedding. He’s antsy, of course, with pre-wedding jitters, and while this…

What This Writer Is About

For some months now, I've been trying to solicit interest from agents and editors in a historically accurate World War II novel I've written. The novel – at least a third of it – was my master of lib arts project and had many eyes on it during its gestation. Since that time I've gleaned…

Love and Mice

There's something of an accepted technique to short nonfiction writing, i.e., the author uses a minute and very specific life experience to demonstrate a much deeper and broader facet of life. In the winter 2011 issue of Creative Nonfiction magazine, Susan Cheever examines relationships between humans and animals – feral and tame – beginning with…

A Question of Relationships

The Finkler Question, by Howard Jacobson   I once read an essay, in The Atlantic, I believe, in which the author posited that no one-on-one relationship is complete without the presence of a third, one which adds a different perspective to the dual relationship. While I don’t think the author of The Finkler Question overtly…