Six Four (by Hideo Yokoyama)

September 14, 2017 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | Fiction, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS, WRITING & LITERATURE |
IA

Six Four, a best-selling sensation in Japan, is the first of Hideo Yokoyama’s novels to be translated into English. Yokoyama previously worked as an investigative journalist for a regional newspaper, and the main theme of his book is the relationship between a regional police force and the media. Superintendent Yoshinobu Mikami having been a detective for over twenty years is,  for reasons which are not clear (at least not to him), appointed Media Relations Director in the Administrative Affairs department of his local Prefecture.  He is the unhappy liaison between the local and Tokyo-based TV and press on the one hand and the police on…

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Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (Novel)

baby jane

By Henry Farrell. The critic Judith Crist said, “the guignol is about as grand as it gets”. Film buffs, was Crist talking about Henry Farrell’s short novel, “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?” or the 1962 film which it inspired?  Neither.  She meant the film “Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte’ which Farrell co-wrote with Lukas Heller, the screenwriter for “Baby Jane”.  But Baby Jane Hudson is more gothicly horrifying on a good day than Charlotte and her lot on a Halloween killing spree. Blanche Hudson, a beautiful and feted film star of the 30s and 40s, has spent twenty dreary years in a wheelchair after suffering a spinal injury.  Her sister Jane shares Blanche’s gloomy Beverley…

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A Place of Greater Safety

"Louis must die so that the nation may live." (Robespierre by Louis-Léopold Boilly)

"Louis must die so that the nation may live." (Robespierre by Louis-Léopold Boilly)

(by Hilary Mantel) (1992) “No law be left but the will of a prevailing force.” Thus Edmund Burke (1790) on the French Revolution; which pretty well sums it up. Whilst the revolution did send shock waves throughout the Monarchical world, at least for a time, it merely reflected the ripples that wash over any society that lacks broad consent as to its mores, or, alternately, lacks a ruler with sufficient iron in the fist. The Terror was all the more terrifying because of its instability; the hands that signed the death warrants one night couldn’t scratch their heads the next day….

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When Vice Presidents Carried Guns

Hamilton-burr-duel

11 July 1804: Vice President Aaron Burr kills former Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton in a duel in New Jersey.  We forget, even these days, what a frontier country early America was. In his sublime novel, Gore Vidal has Burr describe it thus: “It was determined that we would meet across the river in New Jersey, on the heights known as Weehawk….we would meet in two weeks’ time on July 11, 1804…I did not realize with what cunning Hamilton had prepared his departure from this world, and my ruin…When I woke up on the sofa, saw dawn, I knew I would…

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The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.

No, you can't go back in time and kill baby Hitler.  It's complicated.  (Yes, this is Adolf as a tot).

No, you can't go back in time and kill baby Hitler. It's complicated. (Yes, this is Adolf as a tot).

by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland (June 2017) Neal Stephenson, you promised me time travel, magic, and Ancient Greek – all in the first few pages. You quoted Peter Gabriel! I was so there!  Oh goody, I thought, gentle reader, Mr S is back to  pre-Reamde/Anathem/Seveneves form. Nearly 750 pages later  >sigh<  I can tell you that I was wrong. Mr S misled me. Read our review of Seveneves for a more detailed exegesis of what ails Mr Stephenson’s writing now. Sadly, D.O.D.O lacks even the beauty and science that leavened Seveneves.  There’s no magic or Ancient Greek to be seen, either. Dr Melisande Stokes, Harvard lecturer in ancient language, is writing a record…

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