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Meghan Roe

Nonfiction: American Ear Drums

With the disaster of foreign occupation and the U.S. dollar on the dole, it is hard to believe in an ethos of curiosity, ingenuity, and panache—in the American dream, out in the wild world, hatbox and guitar in hand, wayfarers covering its whiskey-soaked eyes.

FICTION: The Art of Communication

Dear Eli: I’m in the middle of the ocean. I haven’t left my room in four days. I’ve never been more lonely in my life, and I think I’m in love with Margot.” With these words Richie Tenenbaum, a sad-eyed, fallen tennis pro with a tall, cool glass of Bloody Mary telegraphs an emotional tempest to his closest friend Eli Cash, an English professor-cum-novelist with a ten-gallon passion for the Western frontier.

FICTION
The Dangling Publication

Melville House’s 2011 reissue of Joan Taylor’s 2006 debut novel, Conversations with Mr. Prain, begins with a rallying cry to the unpublished writers of the world, those who would sit by dejectedly and watch their literary ambitions fade in proportion to their commercial rejections.

Fiction: Strange Fruit

Reading the opening lines of Leni Zumas’s Farewell Navigator, I was reminded of a cloyingly idyllic passage from a childhood favorite, On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder, the fourth book in her Little House series.

Fiction: Are You Experienced?

In a letter to the biographer William Hayley, William Blake writes of the thin line between the living and the dead in the minds of those alive to the memory of those who are not.

Nonfiction: Film Fixer, Epic Nectar

Allen Ginsberg, in the epilogue to his photography book, describes his photos as “celestial snapshots in a sacred world, recording certain moments in eternity with a sense of sacramental presence.

FICTION: A Handful of Change

The final scene of the 2005 film, Jarhead, is a montage depicting life after wartime for a disbanded troop of marines, boys thrust back into lives in the trenches of society. Its soundtrack, the song “Soldier’s Things” by Tom Waits—singer of American born-under-a-bad-sign stories—lyrically rifles through the garage sale of an unknown solider: “Cuff links and hub caps/Trophies and paperbacks/It’s good transportation/But the brakes aren’t so hot…This one is for bravery/And this one is for me/And everything’s a dollar/In this box.”

FICTION: LARGE AND SIMPLE

"She knows that words have the power to make things true if they’re said right.” Or written right. In The Reapers are the Angels, text flows with a providential force that delivers the story from the temporality of the flesh—and the flesh-eating—into high-stakes biblical territory, where the dramas of the living (and living dead) take their cue from the Word of the Lord, that quirky, time-tested author narrating in the sky—or living and writing in New York.

Nonfiction: The Cold Hard Facts of Home

The scene opens with a flourish of horns, strings, and cymbals, on a panoramic strip of sun-dappled Tennessee forestland.

A Bale with a View Johnny Flynn

Fans of the young and folksy contingent in music—which seems to be growing in numbers, like so many rolls of hay from a baler—will be content to fall asleep under a stack, sans horn, with the full-length debut from U.K. artist Johnny Flynn. Released in the U.S. in late July, A Larum is the latest from a community of music-makers from across the pond cutting albums in the British folk style

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The Brooklyn Rail

DEC 19-JAN 20

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