literature

REVIEW: KASPER MUTZENMACHER'S CURSED HAT by KEITH FENTONMILLER

Okay, that's a lot of title.  But worth it.

This is an amazing debut novel--wildly imaginative, powerfully written, funny, and deeply humane. However mythic his characters--they include a Nazi interrogator with the power to make women incapable of seeing their own faces and a talking wish-granting hat once owned by the god Hermes--Fentonmiller renders them fully and credibly. Equally impressive is his deft handling of a broad range of time and space--from Weimar Germany to sixties Detroit. This is a book not to be missed. 

 

LITERARY VIDEOS

I'm curating a collection of literary videos--I don't think that's an oxymoron, but you be the judge--that were found in the Magical Kingdom without Copyright.  For your convenience and ease they are assembled here.   

Our first installment is JP Donleavy's "Ireland in All Her Sins and Graces."  For those yet to discover him, Donleavy is an American-born writer who emigrated to Ireland after a stint in the Navy in World War II.  He studied briefly at Trinity College on the GI Bill, but strong drink and literary ambitions got in the way of a degree.  His first novel, The Ginger Man, is a semiautobiographical chronicle of a rake's progress through post-War Dublin and London.  It appears in the Modern Library's Hundred Best series.  Its transliteration into a play met with mixed success, largely because censors in Dublin and Boston immediately shut it down.  But it nevertheless confirmed Donleavy's stardom early.  He followed it up with A Fairy Tale of New York, which provided the title of my favorite Pogues song; The Beastly Beatitudes of Balthazar B; and The Destinies of Darcy Dancer, Gentleman, among much else.  

Donleavy has lived in Ireland continuously since 1946 and has acquired not only some form of the accent but a great rambling pile of an eighteenth-century house in Westmeath, where he lives in dank style.  

Enjoy.