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Books

In Conversation

Lynne Tillman with Lynn Crawford

“I don’t develop characters psychologically. In American Genius, A Comedy, I pushed to do it psychoanalytically—the character talks itself into being, through its articulations and mistakes. I wanted the novel to go into the biggest issues, like race and racism in America, and then back to the minute, like a bad dinner partner or a facial. ”

Poetry: The Weatherwomen’s Terror

The Weather Undergound’s 1974 Prairie Fire: The Politics of Revolutionary Anti-Imperialism was a poetic manifesto on community and justice. Although self-conscious and moralistic, a recently-reissued collection of the group’s poetry is a sweet alternative to US coup hounds.

Fiction: Being Lolita in Suburbia

Fredrica Wagman’s morally grey new novel is haunting in its treatment of taboo and lyrical in its observation of childhood. The book centers on ten-year old Hannah, whose mundane days are injected with salacious drama by her new neighbor the Maestro.

Fiction: Minimum City

Celebrated scribes like Suketu Mehta and Vikram Chandra end up casting the city of Mumbai in a glamorous aura. First-time-writer Altaf Tyrewala’s No God in Sight tries to avoid such facile depictions. His slim, well-crafted book coolly handles a difficult subject: Muslim love and longing in a Hindu metropolis.

Nonfiction: Speak, Cobblestones

Manhattan’s old Pennsylvania Station seemed like a relic from imperial Rome. Its replacement, a brutal cylinder, epitomizes the heinous fallout of urban development and renovation. Fortunately, Kevin Walsh’s Forgotten New York preserves the city’s low-rise, cobblestoned past.

Nonfiction: The Green Wean

So we are addicted to oil, but what are the larger consequences? Maybe our dealings abroad lead you to think war. And why not? A struggle for control of oil resources has been going on since industrialized nations set up the infrastructure to utilize fossil fuels.

Literature: Frother’s Keeper

The legacy of the Oberiu, an avant-garde St. Petersburg collective born in1920s, was stifled by hard-line Soviet censorship. A new anthology brings to light its unique mixture of Romanticism, crudity and mysticism and establishes the group among its better-known contemporaries, the Surrealists and Dadaists.

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The Brooklyn Rail

DEC 06-JAN 07

All Issues