Book Review – The Last First Day: A Novel

The Last First Day: A Novel by Carrie Brown

The Last First Day: A Novel by Carrie Brown / Pantheon / 304 pages / 978-0307908032Carrie Brown’s prose sucks you into a kind of lull. Images of rooms without bodies, twilights in small towns, or people caught in states of pause and repose are palpable in quiet fluidity. You feel transported to a safe place, as though fear has been exiled, excluded, forgotten. The city is … [Read more...]

The Curse of the Blinding Worm. A close look at ‘Observed While Falling: Bill Burroughs, Ah Pook and Me’, by Malcolm McNeill

Observed While Falling: Bill Burroughs, Ah Pook, and Me

Colin Wilson read this extraordinary book at a single sitting. He can’t have been an exception. Malcolm McNeill’s Observed While Falling: Bill Burroughs, Ah Pook and Me sweeps you up into a multi-layered adventure that presses almost every button: it’s philosophy; it’s science fiction and it’s science fact. It plays astonishing tricks with reality. It’s a wild phantasmagoria … [Read more...]

Ticket to Ride: Inside the Beatles’ 1964 Tour

Ticket to Ride - Larry Kane

Ticket to Ride: Inside the Beatles 1964 Tour That Changed the World by Larry Kane Backbeat Books / October 28, 2014 / 978-1480393042 / 272 pagesIn conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the Beatles' 1964 tour of America, Backbeat Books has republished Larry Kane's insider's view, Ticket to Ride. Just 21 years old, Larry was the only American reporter to accompany the … [Read more...]

A Review of Joseph Ridgwell’s Cuba: In Search of Hemingway

cuba

Turning the first page on the handsewn binding of Joseph Ridgwell’s Cuba: In Search of Hemingway feels like something special. Like discovering the splintered edges of a treasure chest through sand. Or something you might unexpectedly luck on at the bottom of a box of Cuban cigars, holding it up and being wondrously captivated by it. But that’s all part of the charm. Like other … [Read more...]

Book Review – Alex Preston’s In Love and War.

Alex Preston - In Love and War

In Love and War is the third novel from Alex Preston, following 2010's This Bleeding City – which won The Edinburgh International Book Festival Readers’ First Book Award, and was chosen as one of Waterstones’ New Voices of 2010 – and its follow-up, The Revelations, which was released in 2012 to much critical acclaim.The novel follows Esmond Lowndes on a journey from an … [Read more...]

Book Review – Vacant Lot by Oliver Rohe (trans. Laird Hunt)

Vacant Lot by Oliver Rohe

Vacant Lot by Oliver Rohe, translated by Laird Hunt. Counterpath Press, 2011.“Then I was king and now I’m no more than a ghost,” says the narrator in Oliver Rohe’s novel Vacant Lot. Now “I pass haggardly through trenches at the periphery of agitation and take refuge in a penumbra that is menaced from all sides.” Translated from the French by novelist Laird Hunt, at its … [Read more...]

Paul Maher Jr. considers Kerouac’s Haunted Life

The Haunted Life and Other Writings by Jack Kerouac

The Haunted Life and Other Writings / Da Capo Press / March 11, 2014 / 208 pp.Seventy years ago, in May 1944, Jack Kerouac toiled over a novella-length work set in Lowell, Massachusetts. It was written at the prompting of his two newest friends, the mischievous nihilist Lucien Carr and the budding poet, Allen Ginsberg. He titled it The Haunted Life and it was never … [Read more...]

(Book Review) The Book of Duels by Michael Garriga

The Book of Duels by Michael Garriga

The Book of Duels by Michael Garriga / Milkweed / 2014 / ISBN: 9781571310934Code Duello; or, How an Author Teaches You to Die, Rise, and be Born AgainHe greets you with a sly smile and a twinkle of the eyes that suggests mischief, leans into you like a conspirator while shuffling you toward a scarlet cooler in the middle of the room, and whispers, “Grab a beer. … [Read more...]

Kerouac Before the Jazz: a review of “The Haunted Life”

The Haunted Life and Other Writings by Jack Kerouac

There are some great lost manuscripts in American literature and some are truly lost. Ernest Hemingway famously lost the only draft of the first short stories he ever wrote on a French train. Most writers have "lost" manuscripts, conspicuously placed in quotes because those stories for whatever reason the writer has are socked away until after their deaths (interestingly, … [Read more...]

Liberty Ltd.: Trespassers Prosecuted – A Review of Liberty Limited by Károly Sándor Pallai

Liberty Limited by Károly Sándor Pallai

Liberty Limited is a collection of poems of great passion and compassion, of wonders and shame, of bodies and souls. It is a voice for and about the voiceless, for and about those who used to have some limited liberty, but who have lost it long ago: victims of human trafficking, child prostitution, war. It is a voice not easy to attend to, it is both profane and metaphysical, … [Read more...]

Book Review – IR 30: Indigenous Visions In Dub

Book Review: IR 30 Indigenous Visions In Dub

I guess it's appropriate that blockades have gone up again on the Tyndengia Mohawk reservation in South Eastern Ontario Canada as I begin to write this review. Here in Canada the First Nations people are usually out of sight and out of mind unless they manage to capture the media's attention with some event which inconvenience the population at large. While the fact that the … [Read more...]

Review: The Doors Examined by Jim Cherry

The Doors Examined

The Doors Examined by Jim Cherry / Bennion Kearny Limited / paperback / 978-1909125124 / 240 pagesJournalist and author Jim Cherry has a long history with rock 'n' roll journalism, and currently writes the column, "The Doors Examiner." The Doors Examined includes some of those columns, along with material seen here for the first time.A huge amount of information is … [Read more...]

The Opening Line – Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, cover

"We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold."And so begins the first sentence to Hunter S. Thompson's seminal 1971 book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream, a book, which give or take a few missed opportunities, I have endeavoured to read once a year since first picking it up … [Read more...]

beyond the ghosts: poems by t. kilgore splake

Beyond the Ghosts: Poetry by t. kilgore splake

beyond the ghosts: poems by t. kilgore splake / Presa Press / PO Box 792, Rockford MI 49341 / 35 pages / $6.00t. kilgore splake knows how to draw an evocative picture with just a few strokes of his pen, each line shimmers and is necessary. beyond the ghosts's poems look at people, and the wild places in nature and in splake's heart.In these intimate poems, he sees … [Read more...]

Book Review – Dreams before Extinction by Naeemeh Naeemaei

Dreams before Extinction by Naeemeh Naeemaei

It's hard for us in the West not to have misconceptions of what life is like in countries where our perceptions are shaped entirely by what we read in the media. This is especially true of those countries which have attempted to isolate themselves and their populace from what they consider our corrupting influence. I have to admit I have my own prejudices when it comes to Iran. … [Read more...]

Opacity: Liminal Landmine-Bodies – the foreword to Liberty Limited by Károly Sándor Pallai

Liberty Limited

Liberty Limited by Károly Sándor Pallai / Éditions Arthée / 2013 / ISBN: 9789993184638One of my most despondent memories relates to my first encounter with “Mother Country” France, where it was distressingly tacit that I am “other” than French, that I am fundamentally an islander from Guadeloupe, a French woman sure, but from overseas, from – “over there”. Yes, from … [Read more...]

Grand Marais by t. kilgore splake

Grand Marais by Jonathunder, via Wikipedia

Grand Marais by t. kilgore splake / paperback, with DVD / 978-1-4675-8222-3t. kilgore splake's latest volume is a poetic and photographic celebration of Grand Marais, Minnesota, a small city on the shore of Lake Michigan.splake's roots go deep in the Grand Marais area. It's where, aside a campfire years ago, he wrote his first poem. It's here that his pen name was … [Read more...]

Review – T.C. Boyle Stories II

TC Boyle - Stories II

Stories II by T.C. Boyle / Viking / Penguin Group / 2013 / 978-0670026258 / 944 pagesIn some form or another the short story has probably been around as long as man has had the desire and the ability to communicate. Oral tales told around the fire at night aren't going to be long drawn out affairs. Neither are they going to deal with more than one subject. While they might … [Read more...]

Review – Let’s Start a Pussy Riot

Let's Start A Pussy Riot

Let's Start a Pussy Riot, edited by Emely Neu and Jade French / Rough Trade / June 2013 / 978-0957626201On February 21, 2012 members of the Russian feminist performance art group/collective Pussy Riot put on an agit-prop performance in a priests only section of Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. Accused of religious hatred, two of the members of the group, Maria … [Read more...]

splake’s Magic Box

splake2

splake fishing in america. Rockford: Presa Press, 2013 only in my dreams. Springfield: Gage, 2012. Beyond Campfire Ashes. Battle Creeek: Gage, 2012. Backwater Bard Loft Musings. Fort Wayne: The Moon, 2009. Le Metrop 2012. Ed Gray dir. (dvd).Poet Bryn Fortey said it best: “When splake sends, he really sends.”Once, both of us received woolly hats from the … [Read more...]

Review – Tripping with Allah by Michael Muhammad Knight

Tripping with Allah by Michael Muhammad Knight

Tripping with Allah: Islam, Drugs, and Writing by Michael Muhammad Knight Soft Skull Press / 978-1593764432 / 256 pagesThe idea of using drugs in order to achieve some sort of spiritual enlightenment has been around for probably as long as humanity. Whether looking for answers to great mystical questions or just on a personal quest for enlightenment the use of external … [Read more...]

Tristessa by Jack Kerouac

tristessa

Jack Kerouac is primarily lauded for his keen understanding of male friendship. The female characters of On the Road or The Dharma Bums never really achieve the reader's interest the way the males do. But Kerouac is also a writer of exquisitely sad love stories, with complex and fully realized women: The Subterraneans, Maggie Cassidy, and Tristessa. In these tales we find to … [Read more...]