Random Notes

Think the Marvelettes meet Thomas De Quincey meets net technology…

December 27, 2011

“Please mister postman, look and see, if there’s a card in your bag for me.” Marvellettes, 1961. Big hit.  Also fourth song, side two, the Beatles’ Second Album, spring of 1964—a bouncy bit of Beatlemania. A sprig of middle of the century sunshine, youthful optimism, teenagers in love. And we waited so patiently for that […]


Fly me to the moons, 1Q84 review – an Editor’s Pick on Open Salon

November 4, 2011

Now appearing on the cover (today anyway) of Open Salon, an Editor’s Pick – cool.


Fly me to the moons

(This review was published in The Washington Independent Review of Books on November 2, 2011) On January 22, 1984, in what has become an iconic moment in advertising history, the first Apple Macintosh computer was introduced to the world. Striking a cinematic blow against an Orwellian Big Brother figure haranguing a grey and faceless army […]


The stereo of fine historical fiction

September 16, 2011

David Mitchell, after writing his first historical novel, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet, said that one of the great appeals of the genre is that it “delivers a stereo narrative: from one speaker comes the treble of the novel’s own plot while the other plays the bass of history’s plot.”  Well, I’m here […]


The click of a well-made box…

August 21, 2011

Out here in the flatlands, sometimes, you can see for miles and miles.  Approaching weather can be seen far in the distance.  There is time to prepare.  And landscapes are logical.  The vectors line up—lines over straight lines, right angles.  Roads cross in an orderly fashion.  But in Mark Stevens’ wonderful Buried by the Roan, […]