Cormac McCarthy, Cities of the Plain

Cities of the Plain by Cormac McCarthy My rating: 3 of 5 stars Cities of the Plain began life as a screenplay, and it shows. For most of its length, it is bare description and dialogue. While its scene-setting is often concisely vivid and its cowboy conversations laconically witty, it lacks either the lived-in quality… Continue reading Cormac McCarthy, Cities of the Plain

Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto

The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole My rating: 3 of 5 stars Published pseudonymously in 1764 by an English politician, The Castle of Otranto is usually praised as the first Gothic novel. It not only set off a craze for novels about haunted castles and abbeys, about predatory dukes and scheming monks and fainting… Continue reading Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto

Albert Murray, The Hero and the Blues

The Hero And the Blues by Albert Murray My rating: 5 of 5 stars Albert Murray is, as the fashion journalists say, having a moment. His collected non-fiction and fiction/poetry have now been canonized by the Library of America (in volumes published in 2016 and 2018, respectively) and his insights on race, American identity, music,… Continue reading Albert Murray, The Hero and the Blues

Announcing Portraits and Ashes

As you might have guessed from yesterday's defense of self-published literary fiction, I have independently published a novel,┬áPortraits and Ashes. For a brief description, here is the back cover copy: Julia is an aspiring painter without money or direction, haunted by a strange family history. Mark is a successful architect who suddenly finds himself unemployed… Continue reading Announcing Portraits and Ashes