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,…

This Time, It’s All In The Technique

  I’ve had the experience of watching a movie in a local theater, the person in the row in front of me busy whispering aloud, explaining what transpires on the screen to his or her companion. Yes, such prattle may add to your own understanding of this cinematic event, but it’s damned annoying. And so…

The Moving Picture of Ethics in Literature

  I think Leo Tolstoy had a hard time with ethics in his culture, particularly in his day, when the socio-political ground was shifting, much as it is today. A devout Christian, he found himself excommunicated for saying that one should gain one’s guidance from within, not from the Russian Orthodox Church, and for likening…

Looking for the Universal in Literature

  It’s so very tempting as a writer to have an agenda, to put your own personal set of ethics up front in whatever your write. This is the thrust of many religious writers, who get a serious case of “feel-good” by doing so. But are you underestimating your readers in doing this? Take Tolstoy, for…

New World, Old World

This has been another movie weekend for the missus and me as we do our best to ignore omnipresent songs trying to lure us into the season’s commercial orgy. So last night, we watched Terrence Malick’s The New World on HBO (that one was a freebie). I think we were both surprised at this relatively…

Dated, but Still Relevant

Stories, by Anton Chekhov – Part 1 (Translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky) I’ve had this book of stories for a while, waiting, I suppose, for the time and mood to be right to not only read them but to study them. If you aren’t familiar with Chekhov, he was a ground-breaker in story…

Family Redux

Tolstoy said it best, in Anna Karenina: “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”