California Literary Review

Writers

Stripping the Town of Tinsel

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March 30th, 2007

Hilary de Vries The dot com slump, a shift in journalistic standards in the celebrity-driven Hollywood mill, and an overwhelming desire to be honest in her reporting, were the catalysts that propelled award winning Hollywood journalist Hilary de Vries to write her debut novel, “So 5 Minutes Ago” (Random House) which hit bookstands in February. […]

An Interview With Joanne Harris

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March 30th, 2007

“There is a universality to food that makes it easily accessible to the reader, and a long tradition of sensuality related to the subject. As newborns we first experience the world through two senses — taste and smell. That means that our emotional response to a taste or a smell can act upon us at a very powerful, subconscious level.”

An Interview With Novelist Richard Ford

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March 30th, 2007

“Nobody writes good things about New Jersey at all. And I thought, well, maybe that would be the thing to do. Write a novel that is affirming about New Jersey because, certainly it would be unusual. And frankly I liked New Jersey.”

Beyond the Balkans – Eric Ambler and the British Espionage Novel, 1936-1940

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March 26th, 2007

Eric Ambler (1909-1998) was one of the foremost architects of espionage fiction as it exists today. Like his predecessor Somerset Maugham, Ambler sought to transform the genre from the verbal banality and minimal characterizations of authors William Le Queux and Edward Oppenheim to a more sophisticated, morally ambiguous world of deception and danger.

The Big Country: How the West Finally Won

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March 26th, 2007

It’s not a classic in the sense of Casablanca or Citizen Kane, but it’s a kind of cinematic cipher. It opens your eyes to the possibilities still inherent in the Western and shows you its true star. Not a man on a horse or a gunfighter at high noon, but the West itself.

Borges: A Poet’s Quest for Simplicity

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March 26th, 2007

Simplicity requires oneness. If you want to be someone, you are two and you are not simple. If you want to be simple, you are also two and you are not simple.

The Last Victorian: John Buchan and the Hannay Quartet

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March 26th, 2007

But, even more importantly, he also struck the first modern note in the evolution of the genre with respect to the degree of personal doubt and insecurity that over-shadows the mission – the same note, albeit greatly amplified, that is found in the novels of such well-known successors as Eric Ambler, Graham Greene, and John Le Carré, whose spy stories may be correctly seen, in part at least, as a continuance of John Buchan and the Hannay Quartet.

Cassady, Kerouac and Ginsberg

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March 26th, 2007

The time between New Year’s 1956 and April 1958 was a period of general uncertainty and renewed spiritual doubt for Neal Cassady. He remained haunted by Natalie’s death.

A Long Day’s Day with James Dickey

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March 26th, 2007

“Ah yes,” he whispered to me, ”I spent one helluva long night wrassling all over the floor of a room there with one terrific Jew gal. You know Susan Sontag?” “Personally, no, I never met her, though I’ve read her.” “Well, that novel,” he chortled, “that opening … in the abandoned railway tunnel? That was me! That shadow man; that spook; that brute. None other than Jim Dickey! One helluva a long night that was, boy, lemmee tell you!”

A Toast to Tristan Egolf

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March 26th, 2007

He would furiously lead anti-war marches weekly on our courthouse steps. He improvised chants and picket lines in key Lancaster spots for maximum visibility…Soon he began to organize and conduct clandestine parties with bands and full-on amateur boxing bouts in obscure downtown rooms, rural homes and barns. He posed many local dignitaries against each other brawling with full pads on in the ring (often for his own comic purposes). They were brilliant extravaganzas for the aware.

Goethe and Tagore – Unexpected Interests

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March 26th, 2007

Goethe and Tagore, separated by time and contexts, but joined in their great felicity over the literary idiom, show similar quests in the understanding of the sciences. It is alluring to jump to the conclusion of a phony and fashionable unity; that science and arts are the same after all; and literature, music, mathematics, and the physical sciences are all manifestations of the common muse.

The Importance of Henry Miller: A Letter From Father to Son

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March 26th, 2007

Through this dark canopy of industrialism, greed and pollution certain small punctures have allowed minute shafts of light to shine on our cowering selves. Henry Miller is one of these rays of light.

Stemming from … Nowhere?

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March 26th, 2007

To sum up in a phrase the true and deepest character of Lawrence’s genius, it was given by his close friend Aldous Huxley in an introduction to the first collected letters shortly after his death: he was a mystical materialist. And thereon hangs the tale I shall unfold.

Lola! Lola! Lola!

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March 26th, 2007

The notion of Art’s secular epiphany takes us to Vladimir Nabokov, a reader of Joyce. As I recall, it was about 1956 or so that an excerpt of his then unpublishable LOLITA appeared in an early number of Anchor Review.

The Life of R.K. Narayan

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March 26th, 2007

R.K. Narayan Narayan’s fiction rarely addresses political issues or high philosophy. He writes with grace and humor, about a fictional town Malgudi and its inhabitants; and their little lives. Narayan is a classic teller of tales; an enduring appeal springs from his canvas where common men and women of all times and places are joined […]

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