California Literary Review


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


December 15th, 2019

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?


December 13th, 2019

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!


December 12th, 2019

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


December 11th, 2019

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 […]

Sudden Onset


December 7th, 2019

From that first tingling in bed to calling 911 was an hour and a half. Sudden onset, they call it.

Festival of the Earth: Rabindranath Tagore’s Environmental Vision


December 6th, 2019

I knew it occurred every Autumn. And every Autumn I intended to go. And after many trials and as many errors, I finally made it one August. It was the festival of the earth.

A Tribute to Hunter S. Thompson: A World to Fear and Loathe More


December 5th, 2019

Three books changed my life. George Orwell’s 1984, Robert M. Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

The Persecution of P.G. Wodehouse


December 4th, 2019

Was P.G.Wodehouse, the legendary master of farce, party to Nazi propaganda during World War II? This question recurs decades after his death, even as the author remains popular as ever. And the quest for an answer remains relevant today.

Much Ado About Joss Whedon


March 8th, 2013

Is Joss Whedon’s biggest year ever taking a second lap?

Book Review: John Keats: A New Life by Nicholas Roe


November 16th, 2012

Whether one approaches Keats’ life by reading a biography or by the direct study of his poems, there is no escaping the fact that he was obsessed by the nature and effect of beauty in its various forms. He was also haunted by death, the sheer, undeniable, inescapable physical annihilation that awaits each of us, sooner or later. In the case of Keats, death occurred much, much too soon.

Book Review: Literary Brooklyn by Evan Hughes


November 8th, 2011

In his new history of the borough’s development you can virtually trace the emergence of America most talented writers, among them figures like Walt Whitman, Hart Crane, Thomas Wolfe, Bernard Malamud, Richard Wright, Norman Mailer and Arthur Miller. They, among many other notables, were residents in that “outlandish place,” and, it would seem, most often by choice!

Book Review: Charles Dickens: A Life by Claire Tomalin


November 6th, 2011

The happiness was not to last. More Scrooge than Bob Cratchit in some respects, he was not particularly fond of his sons. Charley, his eldest, he deemed to be suffering from a “lassitude of character” and he did not see much hope for the others. He worried they might metamorphose into his father or his brothers, relying on him for handouts. And he was becoming thoroughly sick of Catherine.

Book Review: Blue Nights by Joan Didion


October 30th, 2011

We learn that Quintana Roo was adopted, a beautiful precocious girl with hair “bleached by the beach sun” and an unearthly adult sensibility. At the age of 5, she called the state psychiatric facility to “find out what she needed to do if she was going crazy;” soon after, she called Twentieth-Century Fox to “find out what she needed to do to be a star.”

Book Review: Pauline Kael: A Life in the Dark by Brian Kellow


October 24th, 2011

So if she wasn’t pleasant, what was Pauline Kael? She was earthy; she was tough; she was not afraid of sex, drugs or Woody Allen. Cigarettes and bourbon were her loyal companions. The East Coast establishment and prissy editors her enemies. As Jerry Lewis said, she was a “dirty old broad.” But he also called her “the most qualified critic in the world. “ Both, I think, she would have perceived as compliments.

Art Review: Charles Dickens at 200, The Morgan Library and Museum


October 19th, 2011

Dickens’ novels probed the social ills of Victorian England in order to create unforgettable images of human misery and redemption in the minds of the literary public. Conscious of how the accompanying illustrations to his text would help in this respect, Dickens worked very closely with the artists who provided these memorable pictures.

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