Category: Fabulous Ones

Jun 10 2018

Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman

Everything I said here about the greatness of the first half of Life and Fate holds true for the second. What strikes me most is how consistently he captures the contradictions of humanity, in situations both mundane and extreme. Some people are pitiless one moment and turn around and show great compassion the next; they …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/06/10/life-and-fate-by-vasily-grossman/

Jun 09 2018

The 13 Clocks by James Thurber

I am sure that I picked up The 13 Clocks because of the positive things that Neil Gaiman said about it among his reviews in The View from the Cheap Seats. I don’t have that text to hand just now, but I do have the introduction that he wrote to Thurber’s tale, even though he …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/06/09/the-13-clocks-by-james-thurber/

May 12 2018

The House of Government by Yuri Slezkine — Halftime Report

One of the unexpected pleasures of The House of Government is Yuri Slezkine’s occasional playful way with words. Given the subject matter, and particularly given Slezkine’s argument that Bolshevism can best be understood as a millennarian sect that gained control of the state, a reader would be forgiven for thinking that his prose would range …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/05/12/the-house-of-government-by-yuri-slezkine-halftime-report/

Apr 23 2018

The Secret Lives of Color by Kassia St. Clair

The Secret Lives of Color fairly leaped off the display table at me. Once I had it in my hands, I had to own it. The book itself is an argument for books as tangible objects, thanks to the efforts of designer James Edgar and the production team at Penguin who all made it such …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/04/23/the-secret-lives-of-color-by-kassia-st-clair/

Mar 24 2018

Any Day Now by Terry Bisson

For a good part of the way through Any Day Now, I was fairly certain that it would turn out to be the fourth perfect book, and even now I am not entirely sure that it is not. The book won’t be for everyone, though; I bounced off of the novel completely the first time …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/03/24/any-day-now-by-terry-bisson/

Mar 19 2018

The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin

“There was a wall. It did not look important. It was built of uncut rocks roughly mortared. An adult could look right over it, and even a child could climb it. Where it crossed the roadway, instead of having a gate it degenerated into mere geometry, a line, an idea of boundary. But the idea …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/03/19/the-dispossessed-by-ursula-k-le-guin/

Feb 13 2018

The House of Government by Yuri Slezkine

When it was built, the House of Government — maybe better known in English as the House on the Embankment thanks to the book by Yuri Trefonov — was the largest residential building in Europe. With The House of Government, Yuri Slezkine gives the building, its people and its first era an equally enormous treatment. The main …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/02/13/the-house-of-government-by-yuri-slezkine/

Jan 02 2018

Mission Child by Maureen F. McHugh

Mission Child begins on the other side of the Prime Directive. The first-person narrator, Janna, is a member of a renndeer-herding clan on a world that isn’t Earth but that was colonized by humans at some point in the unspecified past. Settlement took place long enough ago that an indigent species has been re-engineered to …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/01/02/mission-child-by-maureen-f-mchugh/

Dec 07 2017

Conversations with Stalin by Milovan Djilas

Listening in on Conversations with Stalin involves stepping back into numerous vanished worlds: one in which Communists were imprisoned by kings’ secret police forces; where Communism is new and for large numbers of people a source of hope; where the inner workings of the Soviet Union are largely unknown; where Yugoslavia exists as both a …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/12/07/conversations-with-stalin-by-milovan-djilas/

Dec 06 2017

Premature Evaluation: Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman

I first came to Vasily Grossman via excerpts in Ivan’s War, Catherine Merridale‘s amazing book about how ordinary Soviet soldiers experienced the Second World War. That prompted me to pick up A Writer at War, dispatches and stories that he wrote while working as a journalist near the front. I thought it was one of …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/12/06/premature-evaluation-life-and-fate-by-vasily-grossman/