urban literary-knot

Breeeeeathe… August 1, 2009

Lydia Peelle

Lydia Peelle has given us a collection of stories so artfully constructed and deeply imagined they read like classics. It marks the beginning of what will surely be a long and beautiful career.  —Ann Patchett

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A Short Story Not To Be Under-Appreciated April 4, 2009

 

In Other Rooms Other Wonders

 

I’m still going back over this collection of short stories and was captivated vividly by Mr Mueenuddin’s ability to bring me in and keep there– within the ‘other rooms’.   

For debut work  In Other Rooms, Other Wonders  has truly broken the idea that the short-story form cannot keep the reader’s attention, and Mr Mueenuddin has definitely done just that– I’m looking forward to reading more.

 

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“Pakistani writers are addressing change and what’s happening today in the world. There is something completely contemporary in this writing.”

But introducing a debut collection is never easy… Mr. Mueenuddin’s eight linked stories, which take place in Pakistan in the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s, offer readers a look inside a culture that is in the headlines. It is the voice of Pakistan from within Pakistan, a fresh perspective … Mr. Mueenuddin doesn’t “research” his books. Rather, he says, they are mostly based on personal experience.

Each story is grounded in simple needs. In “A Spoiled Man,” a lonely old man lives in a portable cubicle and briefly finds happiness with a woman of limited intelligence. In the title piece, a young woman is willingly seduced by a wealthy landowner while allowing herself to imagine that she might be accepted by society. In “Lily,” a bride convinces herself that she’ll enjoy life on a Pakistani farm, only to discover she’s not the woman she thought.

These days, Mr. Mueenuddin is at work on a novel, although he’s convinced that the short story as a form is under-appreciated.

“A novel is a baggy thing with pieces hanging off,” he says. “It can have lots of extraneous bits, and it won’t destroy the form. But with a short story you only have a reader for a moment, and you need a beginning, middle and end that will be seen almost simultaneously. If you remove one line it falls apart.”

-Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg – WSJ

 

Post Holiday-New Year Detox… January 3, 2009

The Book of Disquiet

 

It’s been one hell of a year, and right about now I’m desiring some good ‘heteronym’.  Mr Pessoa still remains relatively obscure here in the states, all the more reason to rekindle this genius work…

‘Like Kafka, Pessoa left his work in disarray, much of it to be published posthumously. And throughout Europe, Pessoa has already become a literary icon of postmodernism, as Kafka was of modernism. He is portrayed on postcards and bookmarks, and in Portugal he is even on the 100 escudo bill.

Much of Pessoa’s mystique comes from his unique practice of writing under different “heteronyms”. These heteronyms generated radically different texts, and Pessoa supplied them with distinct biographies, life spans, and even horoscopes. In The Book of Disquiet, Pessoa came as close as he would to autobiography. But the book is, like everything about Pessoa, an object of mystery. Left on disordered scraps of paper in a trunk discovered after the author’s death, the fragments that make up The Book of Disquiet have no fixed sequence, and therefore every reader must make out of it a different text. It is the ultimate postmodern novel: hypertext perfected long before the advent of the internet.’   -Exact Change

 

SantaLand… December 1, 2008

The Santa Land Diaries

“SantaLand Diaries” collects six of David Sedaris’s most profound Christmas stories into one slender volume perfect for use as a last-minute coaster or ice-scraper. This drinking man’s companion can be enjoyed by the warmth of a raging fire, the glow of a brilliantly decorated tree, or even in the back seat of a police car. It should be read with your eyes, felt with your heart, and heard only when spoken to. It should, in short, behave much like a book. And oh, what a book it is! “Acidly camp, bitchily kitsch and slickly satirical packages of out-there humour…very funny” – Sunday Times

 

Summer Fades – Harvest Begins September 16, 2008

 

 

 

And so, we begin again, next month after schedules have settled, studio hours and pieces have been completed and the showing goes forward…. I love fall!

Summer was busy and bountiful and we were even lucky enough to squeeze a pretty decent “far-away” vacation that did all of the family good- yeah!

Now that the baby pumpkins are turning a beautiful deep orange, though I’m a bit frustrated that my French variety look to have bitten the dust or have been bitten and digested by my animal neighbors, and the sunflowers are drooping and being nibbled to my annoyance by those urban squirrels, I’m thinking of some good October reads and will weigh the possibilities in the next couple of weeks.

So what have you been reading this past summer my ULK comrads?

See you all soon!

 

ULK On Summer Break June 4, 2008

ULK will be on Summer Break- in need of attending to other endeavors, vacation, planting, writing… all that good stuff!

Be back in early to mid Fall– enjoy your Summer!

-cheers

 

Let May be ‘Wild’ May 3, 2008

I can’t think of a better book to read this month than Griffiths’  Wild: An Elemental Journey  … and no there won’t be any ayahuasca to enhance the reading!

Contact for details- etc.

                          “As dreams are essential to the psyche, wilderness is to Life.”

                                                      -Jay Griffiths