Blonde (Joyce Carol Oates)

November 25, 2019 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | Fiction, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS, WRITING & LITERATURE |

(published 2000) We at TVC have never been charmed by the pasty, lumpy creature ‘Marilyn Monroe’; the bundle of affected moues, fleshy wiggles and whispers that the Frankenstein Studio reportedly stewed-up from some bits of lovelorn redneck Norma Jean and handfuls of sexpot glamour queen Marilyn.  Other than her almost-acting in “The Misfits” and her quite realistic impression of a starlet in “All About Eve“, her performances are tedious repetitions of wide-eyed Marilyn cooing and writhing her way through a sea of leering men. So, while we have little faith in Marilyn’s ability ever to inspire, we have much in…

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The Double (Jose Saramago)

November 13, 2019 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | Fiction, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS, WRITING & LITERATURE |
Doppelgangers

Painting by Sebastian Bieniek

(English translation: 2004) Secondary-school history teacher Tertuliano Maximo Afonso (almost always referred to by his full name) is depressed and apathetic. He cares little about his work (believing that history should be taught in reverse not forward), neglects his mother, can’t remember what led him to get married, forgets why he got divorced and is trying to dump his girlfriend, Maria da Paz (also almost always named in full). He lives alone and spends most of his free time listlessly plodding through a large tome on Abyssinian history. His only friend, a fellow teacher, suggests that he is out of…

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Russian Roulette

(by Michael Isikoff and David Corn) (2018) This is an absorbing, readable and – remarkably – balanced account of the 2016 US election and the possible effect of Russian or Russian-sponsored hacking and disinformation. The existence of actual collusion between the Trump campaign and Putin’s apparatchiks relies on a number of guilt-by-association inferences, commercial ties with Russian oligarchs, and meetings attended by the numerous idiots connected with the campaign. Ultimately, the authors leave open the question both of direct collusion, and of the causative links of Russian meddling to Hillary Clinton’s defeat. Which is not to say there isn’t plenty…

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Adelaide Festival 2020

October 30, 2019 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, DANCE, MUSIC, OPERA, THEATRE, WRITING & LITERATURE |

29 October 2019: TVC crept in to Bonython Hall at Adelaide University on a beautiful Spring Morning for the launch of the programme for the internationally renowned Adelaide Art’s Festival (& Adelaide Writer’s Festival) in February/March 2020, the AF’s 60th year.  Expect ABC documentaries and coffee-table books aplenty! “The Big Reveal” (yes, ‘reveal’ is now a noun, evidently) was preceded by some homilies from Aunty Georgina Williams Ngankiburka Mekaune, Senior Woman of Water, who also dropped the (yawn-inducing) Welcome to Country upon us, along with a tag-team of professional signers, complete with their ‘jazz hands’ to emulate applause. Judy Potter,…

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Nabokov’s Conundrum

September 1, 2019 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Fiction, PETER'S WRITING |

You are doubtless familiar with Poe’s Law: “Satirical expressions of extremism online are hard to distinguish from genuine ones without indicating intent.”*  As inventor Nathan Poe put it, in relation to fundamentalist religious belief: “Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is utterly impossible to parody a creationist in such a way that someone won’t mistake it for the genuine article.”** But, as usual, the master of English as a second language formulated something even better.  Writing about the announcement of Facebook from the terrace of the Montreux Palace in the Spring of 1977, Vladimir Nabokov formulated his…

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