Magazine and Two Novels

Watched Pop-up Magazine with ML at the BAM last Thursday and enjoyed it very much. The writing was so-so but the stories were well-chosen and sequenced for their intrinsic interest. The graphics, consisting of drawings, photography or animation, and the live music certainly added to the theater of putting up magazine stories on stage.

Read Monique Truong's The Sweetest Fruits and thought it was a return to form after the unexciting Bitter in the Mouth. Of the three narrators telling of their life with Lafcadio Hearn, I found Alethea Foley the most compelling. The voice of the former slave was less fatalistic than the other two, and the effort of both Lafcadio and Alethea to start new lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, was more interesting than the fading of Ionian culture into modern Greece or of the Shogan era into Meiji Japan.

Down with a cold and so spent the whole of President's Day at home with a book. So glad I did. Finished reading Rawi Hage's novel Beirut Hellfire Society in a day, after picking it up at a book event at McNally Jackson. Masterly work. What begins as an anthology of characters observed from his window by the protagonist Pavlov, an undertaker and the son of an undertaker, thickens through adroit interweaving into a propulsive story about living and dying in a civil war. About dancing above the cemetery road, as the last sentence of the novel has it.

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