In the Hand of Dante – Nick Tosches

This book is both literally and figuratively unreadable. First, the literal problems: many (presumably) important lines are in Italian, Hebrew or Latin. Further, Tosches bogs his narrative down to dwell, at mind-numbing length, on numerology and etymology. Second, the  ...

The Black Veil: A Memoir with Digressions – Rick Moody

Playfully and at times painfully self-aware, Rick Moody flees from conventional storytelling as if from the West Nile virus or Enron stock. His relentlessly clever stories and novels have always taken the path of greatest resistance. Overripe highbrow prose  ...

Restless Night – Julianna Raye

The eerie soundscapes created by Julianna Raye and producer Ethan Jones are superficially reminiscent of the collaboration of Julee Cruise and Angelo Badalamenti. However, while “Falling“ will forever be associated with that weirdest of all American small towns, David  ...

Looking for the Summer – Robert W. Norris

Robert W. Norris’s Looking for the Summer is a graceful autobiographical novel that breathes fresh life into a perennial genre: the spiritual bildungsroman. The theme of a questing expatriate who renounces Western materialism in favor of an exotic pilgrimage  ...

State of Bliss – Courtenay Day

Courtenay Day sounds a like a world weary Liz Callaway - clear and pure but slightly cracked around the edges. It’s not a great voice but she knows what to do with it. Warm, with an edge of vulnerability,  ...

Movie Awards – Tom O’Neil

The key word here is ‘unofficial’. Tom O’Neil is an American film critic and commentator and he’s been around long enough to be able to sift out the facts and figures from the morass of self-congratulation and financially motivated  ...