For reasons I won’t get into at the moment, I will be very busy over the next few weeks (maybe months). I am not sure how much blogging I will be able to do. Heck, I don’t really know how much reading I will be able to do. I might find the time to read, and post reviews and links, as a way to relax and reduce stress or I might find that I am just not focused on reading or blogging. Given that this isn’t exactly a post-a-minute type of place anyway, that probably isn’t a big concern. But I just thought I would let you know, in case anyone cares. If content drops precipitously you’ll know why.
In the meantime, here are some links worth checking out:
– Matthew Omolesky reviews the latest from Martin Amis over at the American Spectator:
After Martin Amis, the renowned but polarizing English writer, tackled the issue of Stalinism and its moral legacy in his non-fiction work Koba the Dread: Laughter and the Twenty Million, it was only a matter of time before the same historical and emotional terrain was trod in novelistic form.
This has happened in House of Meetings, in which depictions of the personal and political consequences of the Gulag slave archipelago combine to form a work of unsettling moral power. House of Meetings is at its core the story of a love triangle (an “isosceles,” Amis tells us, “it certainly comes to a sharp point”) involving two brothers and a Jewish girl in a post-WWII Moscow on the verge of a pogrom. But Amis’s latest offering is also a profoundly political work, concerned with the impact of Communism on today’s Russia, both on the level of the individual and the state. As such, Amis is a worthy heir of a long tradition of Western eyes trained on Russia.
– And if you didn’t catch it, also in the Spectator was Larry Thornberry’s review of the latest Rumpole book:
The point of this novel, the most political and most topical of the Rumpole stories, is to give Mortimer some space to vent on the steps New Labour has taken to protect the UK from terrorists, steps Mortimer feels tread unnecessarily on the rights English citizens have traditionally enjoyed. In previous stories Mortimer has given us gentle wit and satire, with Horace playing off against an ensemble cast of slightly off-plumb judges, prosecutors, and his colleagues in chambers at 4 Equity Court. (And of course Horace’s formidable and worthy wife, Hilda, known to Rumpole as “She Who Must Be Obeyed.”) These judicial short-rounds (an artilleryman’s term — think about it) are present in Reign of Terror, and amuse us as always. But they share a stage with some real names and real offices and real contemporary issues.
Worldview confidence means acting as if what is asserted in your theology is true, and not just a case to be argued. This confidence includes a willingness to confront reality head-on, to face even the most difficult questions, trusting that nothing such honesty might uncover will topple the house of cards. Worldview anxiety, though, takes the “already, not yet” of the Kingdom and replaces it with “not yet, maybe never.” It stage-manages reality to insure that all the questions are answered and certain problems are never faced. While it parades itself as a kind of faith, what it projects is quite the opposite. The impression worldview anxiety gives, when it finds its way into fiction, is that the perspective on display cannot stand up to scrutiny. It is, in a sense, self-refuting.
– Also, on the craft side, but a little less philosophical, Henry Kisor discuss opening sentences and grabbing the reader’s attention.