Convenience Store Woman (Sayaka Murata)

(2018 translation from the Japanese by Ginny Tapley Takemori) Keiko Furukura isn’t a convenience store worker, she is part of a convenience store. “I was wasting time talking like this.  I had to get myself back in shape for the sake of the store.  I had to restructure my body so it would be able to move more swiftly and precisely to replenish the refrigerated drinks or clean the floor, to more perfectly comply with the store’s demands”.  Keiko is content living as a cell in a convenience store, but her family and her (very few) friends are not content. “‘Keiko,…

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Crossroads (Jonathan Franzen)

The first volume of Jonathan Franzen’s saga of contemporary American family life, “Crossroads” (2021) promises less to come. The Hildebrandts of New Prospect are falling apart and they don’t know it.  Worse still, they are unremittingly dull, and the author doesn’t know it.  The hypocritical, craven pastor father, Russ, lusts after a parishioner. He despises his peculiar and repressed wife, Marion.  He loathes a popular youth worker at the church ‘Crossroads’ group.  He acts inappropriately with teenaged girls.  That’s about all he does. The Hildebrandt parents barely register their children – the all-American elder son, the thinly-realised daughter, the drug-addled…

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The Witching Hour (Anne Rice)

In 1818 Mary Shelley created Frankenstein’s monster, a bag of bones held together with dead flesh and animated by gothic electricity.  In 1990 Anne Rice created The Witching Hour, a 1,207 page bag of bones held together with dead prose and flaccidly animated by pseudo-gothic raving. The Mayfairs are a family of witches who limp, from Europe, to a southern United States plantation, to the Garden District of New Orleans (Louisiana’s Gothic Central). Their bones are clothed in lush foliage, incest, madness, torture and incantations. Pursuant to some vague female version of the entail, one woman in each generation inherits…

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Sundog

(Jeff Janoda.  2019) We at TVC are not particularly interested in the experiences of German pilots stationed in Southern Russia in December 1942, and so we would not have picked up Sundog, had we not known that its author, Canadian Jeff Janoda was also the author of the terrific, Saga A Novel of Medieval Iceland.  Janoda justified our faith. It would have been our loss, had we judged this book by its subject matter. The settings of the two novels could not be more different, but the concise, detailed and historically rich style are the same. Sundog is a truly…

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Theft by Finding

April 12, 2020 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Fiction, LIFE, Non-Fiction, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

By David Sedaris (2017) Having caught his act just before plague was upon us, TVC thought it a lucky ‘Rabbit Rabbit’ move to read his paean to serendipity, Theft by Finding. These are diaries kept by him (much winnowed; the originals comprise 8 million odd words, or 8 Clarissas) from 1977-2002 and as he so rightly argues in his introduction, diaries – proper diaries, the best diaries (Samuel Pepys, Anne Frank) – are written to find oneself, never with an eye to publication. From his wastrel twenties to his successful mid-forties, his circumstances change but he hardly does, either in…

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