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In the edgy novella Click” Jonathan's ongoing photo-documentary of a prostitute exposes how little intensity remains between him and his fiancée, Margaret. While Jonathan is plagued with doubts about his motivations and abilities as an artist, Margaret is worn out by her obligations not just to her needy husband-to-be but to all the men in her life. In The Ugliest Boy,” Justin develops an odd friendship with Steven, his girlfriend's brother. Steven was disfigured by fire in a childhood accident. Justin bears wounds more deeply hidden. The two forge a strange bond based on their anger and pain.
Crouse's stories often involve people trapped on the margins of society, confronted by diminishing possibilities and various forms of mental illness. The junior executive in Code” worries about his job--and his sanity--amid a sudden and wide-sweeping corporate layoff. A manic-depressive father and his teenage daughter dress as vampires and embark on a strange Halloween journey through their suburban neighborhood in the darkly humorous Morte Infinita.” In Swimming in the Dark” a family gives up on itself. Shredded slowly over the years since the accidental drowning of the eldest son, the remaining family members seek their own separate peace, however imperfect.
The men and women in Copy Cats are unwilling and often unable to differentiate reality from fantasy. Cursed with what one of them calls a pollution of ideas,” these are people at war with their own imaginations.
This powerful novel depicts the reign of violence perpetrated in Peru in the 1980s by the Shining Path guerrillas, a Maoist-based organization, and the subsequent authoritarian counterattack by the Peruvian government. It explores these horrific events through the eyes of a young American photojournalist and humanitarian worker, Lisette, who bears witness to the genocide of the Peruvian Indians in whose village she has chosen to live. “I use the camera to block my view,” says Lisette. This is the start of her double vision—trying to forget and trying to recall—and her struggle to come to terms with the human capacity for cruelty. But the grim reality in Peru is so overpowering that she carries it with her back to New York and through the rest of her life. Having abandoned a lover along with the fight, she desperately tries to find meaning beyond that of mere survival.
Every man lives for himself, using his freedoms to attain his personal aims, and feels with his whole being that he can at any moment perform or not perform this or that actionÖThe higher a man stands in the social scale, the more connections he has with others and the more power he has over them, the more conspicuous is the predestination and inevitability of every act he commits. Upon this philosophy, a former banker, Hansel Bolingo, suddenly finds [or makes] himself the regional representative of a Chinese firm that deals in crabs in Bangui. This catapults him into a position of instant wealth. His mouth-watering affluence draws immediate attention while his hypnotic powers cause hundreds of [not-so-honest]citizens to clamour for shares from which he builds up a huge fortune. But he soon discovers that he cannot deceive everybody all the time.
The fourth novel in Jerry Apps’s Ames County series, Cranberry Red brings the story into the present, portraying the challenges of agriculture in the twenty-first century.
As the novel opens, Ben Wesley has lost his job as agricultural agent for Ames County. He is soon hired as a research application specialist for Osborne University, a for-profit institution that has developed “Cranberry Red,” a new chemical that promises not only to improve cranberry crop yields but also to endow the fruits with the power to prevent heart disease, reduce brain damage from strokes, and ward off Alzheimer’s disease. Ben must promote the new product to cranberry growers in Ames County and beyond, but he worries whether the promised results are credible. Was Cranberry Red rushed to market?
When the chemical does all that the university claims it will do, Ben is relieved . . . until disturbing side effects emerge. Can he criticize Cranberry Red and safeguard farmers and consumers without losing his job, or will Ben’s honesty get him fired while his community continues to get sicker?
Finalist, General Fiction, Midwest Book Awards
In Crazy Water: Six Fictions, Lori Baker pushes the boundaries between truth and reality with curious, tragi-comic results. The imagination is Baker's terrain, and in these stories, pleasant suburban childhoods, family drives, seaside vacations, and an academic's quest for tenure all are strangely warped, yet nonetheless still mirror a world we thought we knew. In these brief pages, boys become dogs, students hide in the molluscan places, and mothers do their best to rescind their unsatisfying children.
"I say things smugly as if I understand them, muses one of Baker's narrators. Indeed, characters and readers alike are undermined in these deft and quirky fictions. Exposing and imploding all of our expectations, Baker shows us how menacing (and funny) the apparently ordinary can be.
Carl Freedman traces the fundamental and mostly unexamined relationships between the discourses of science fiction and critical theory, arguing that science fiction is (or ought to be) a privileged genre for critical theory. He asserts that it is no accident that the upsurge of academic interest in science fiction since the 1970s coincides with the heyday of literary theory, and that likewise science fiction is one of the most theoretically informed areas of the literary profession. Extended readings of novels by five of the most important modern science fiction authors illustrate the affinity between science fiction and critical theory, in each case concentrating on one major novel that resonates with concerns proper to critical theory.
Freedman's five readings are: Solaris: Stanislaw Lem and the Structure of Cognition; The Dispossessed: Ursula LeGuin and the Ambiguities of Utopia; The Two of Them: Joanna Russ and the Violence of Gender; Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand: Samuel Delany and the Dialectics of Difference; The Man in the High Castle: Philip K. Dick and the Construction of Realities.
Chief Nchindia held the Elders of his Council in total contempt, inwardly vowing to disagree with them at every point where disagreement was possible. What starts like a big joke develops into grim tragedy: the statue of the god of Nkokonoko Small Monje is discovered to have been stolen and sold to a white man! The tradition demands instant execution of the culprits. Was their Chief involved in the theft? What was worse, the crime or the punishment? Linus Asong was born in the South West Region of Cameroon in 1947. With a combined B.A honours in Education, in 1980 he entered the University of Windsor in Canada whence he graduated with a terminal degree in Creative Writing. He holds an M.A and a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Alberta, in Edmonton Canada, and is presently Associate Professor of Literature and Creative Writing at Ecole Normale Superieure Bambili (University of Yaounde 1). Asong is a stand-up humorist, a consummate portrait painter, an accomplished literary scholar, and a celebrated prolific writer with over a dozen novels to his credit.
Under the pseudonym Eza Boto, Mongo Beti wrote Ville cruelle (Cruel City) in 1954 before he came to the world's attention with the publication of Le pauvre Christ de Bomba (The Poor Christ of Bomba). Cruel City tells the story of a young man's attempt to cope with capitalism and the rapid urbanization of his country. Banda, the protagonist, sets off to sell the year's cocoa harvest to earn the bride price for the woman he has chosen to wed. Due to a series of misfortunes, Banda loses both his crop and his bride to be. Making his way to the city, Banda is witness to a changing Africa, and as he progresses, the novel mirrors these changes in its style and language. Published here with the author's essay "Romancing Africa," these texts signify a pivotal moment in African literature, a deliberate challenge to colonialism, and a new kind of African writing.
Crooms's vision of a new Ape Yard, rebuilt by its own residents, unites the four-and puts them on a collision course with Doc Bobo, a smalltown Machiavelli who rules the community like a feudal lord. Jeff Fields's exuberantly defined characters and his firmly rooted sense of place have earned A Cry of Angels an intensely loyal following. Its republication, more than three decades since it first appeared, is cause for celebration.