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Monday, March 28, 2022

Reader's Diary #2296 - Sweeps McNulty: Driveway... To Maturity

 Most fiction I've read that I'd classify as domestic fiction has been by women with a female protagonist. While I have no idea about Sweeps McNulty's gender, "Driveway... To Maturity" one of the rare domestic fiction short stories I've read that revolves around a male.

The male in this case is coming to terms with the sudden responsibility he is feeling now that he has a baby on the way. The feeling is very well captured and the voice is quite believable. 

Only minor issue I have is with the title which is a bit precious and too on the nose.


Monday, March 21, 2022

Reader's Diary #2295 - Samuel Beckett: Dante and the Lobster

It's a bit, maybe intentionally so, difficult to first get into Samuel Beckett's "Dante and the Lobster." It opens with a man named Belacqua struggling to understand a passage of Dante's Inferno. As it moves from there, I too had had some difficulty with the language as it was very local, dated, and like Belacqua himself, a bit on the pretentious side.

After finally getting into the style, the story sadly didn't amount to much. Basically he prepares a meal for his aunt who is also his Italian teacher. He's mortified however to learn that lobsters are boiled alive. It seems like a odd, non-important conclusion to me. But Belacqua at least was interesting, reminding me at times of Ignatius Reilly from A Confederacy of Dunces

Monday, March 14, 2022

Reader's Diary #2294 - Erin Francis Fisher: The Goddess Lisa

It's the end of the world in Erin Francis Fisher's short story, "The Goddess Lisa" and even now there's a glimmer of happiness.

A couple, one of whom is pregnant, have on heat resistant clothing and believe themselves to be at a safe distance to witness the death of the sun. There's a lot of emotion and poetic description here that I quite enjoyed.

Monday, March 07, 2022

Reader's Diary #2293 - Ken Liu: Thoughts and Prayers

 Missing Black Mirror, Ken Liu's short story "Thoughts and Prayers" scratched my itch for technology-based not-too-distant future dystopia. 

About a university student who gets killed by a shooter at a concert, the story begins with a lot of provocative philosophy about what it means to be preserved online. Then it veers into a exploration of online hate and trolling. Uniting these two themes is the idea of a life as a symbol. It's dark and using different voices to tell the story, extremely well told.

Tuesday, March 01, 2022

Reader's Diary #2292 - Mohammad Sabaaneh: Power of Dreams / My Story is Palestine

 

As a comic, I'm not entirely sure that Mohammad Sabaaneh's Power Born of Dreams: My Story is Palestine works. As a piece of art, I think it does.

It's about a friendship between a bird and a Palestinian prisoner and the stories, memories they share. It's confusing though and following a plot, or even always getting the point being made, is sometimes difficult. The emotions, however are obvious. The black and white linocuts are mesmerizing. Luckily, for those wanting to know more about the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, there's a text section at the end. I think I'd have preferred it at the front to provide more context for the art.