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In Ann Harleman's remarkable debut collection, men and women of extraordinary passions look for and sometimes find the hidden heart of ordinary life. Testing themselves and each other, they search for ways to connect. "Understanding," says the troubled voyeur-narrator of "Imaginary Colors," "is the booby prize"; these characters go for experience. Reckless explorers of inner space, they try the limits of their lives.
A gravely ill woman seeks forgiveness from her grown-up daughters for an adulterous past which she does not really regret. A boy watches anxiously—and enviously—while his brother flaunts an interracial love affair in front of their dangerous father. In strike-torn Warsaw during the rise of Solidarity, an American professor and his Polish housekeeper reach toward each other from their respective cages of loneliness. A girl's determined pursuit of her first sexual experience brings her more, and less, than she bargained for.
Harleman combines a clear eye with a generous heart, revealing her characters-misguided, selfish, loving, brave—through a compassionate, often humorous probing of their inner and outer worlds. In "It Was Humdrum" a system analyst hires a detective to find the mother who left him as an infant, while his young wife leaves him daily for afternoon trysts with her Puerto Rican lover. A woman assaulted by a teenage gang escapes physically unharmed but forever changed. The past overtakes a woman who has married for love, not of her husband, but of his small daughter. A greeting card poet pursued by stereotyped images of happiness flees from the woman he loves and the brother he never knew he had.
The supple language of these twelve stories—wise, funny, delighting in the sensuous—makes us feel the beauty and terror of a fully lived life. Harleman's characters, whether they succeed or fail, show us the way to a deeper exploration of our own lives.
The Fifties and the Sixties in Contemporary Cultural Politics
From Miltown to Prozac
Valium. Paxil. Prozac. Prescribed by the millions each year, these medications have been hailed as wonder drugs and vilified as numbing and addictive crutches. Where did this “blockbuster drug” phenomenon come from? What factors led to the mass acceptance of tranquilizers and antidepressants? And how has their widespread use affected American culture? David Herzberg addresses these questions by tracing the rise of psychiatric medicines, from Miltown in the 1950s to Valium in the 1970s to Prozac in the 1990s. The result is more than a story of doctors and patients. From bare-knuckled marketing campaigns to political activism by feminists and antidrug warriors, the fate of psychopharmacology has been intimately wrapped up in the broader currents of modern American history. Beginning with the emergence of a medical marketplace for psychoactive drugs in the postwar consumer culture, Herzberg traces how “happy pills” became embroiled in Cold War gender battles and the explosive politics of the “war against drugs”—and how feminists brought the two issues together in a dramatic campaign against Valium addiction in the 1970s. A final look at antidepressants shows that even the Prozac phenomenon owed as much to commerce and culture as to scientific wizardry. With a barrage of “ask your doctor about” advertisements competing for attention with shocking news of drug company malfeasance, Happy Pills is an invaluable look at how the commercialization of medicine has transformed American culture since the end of World War II.
Happy Times in Norway is a moving and delicately humorous picture of Undset’s own blissful home life before her nation fell to the Nazi occupation. Captured here is the excitement of a Norwegian Christmas, the Seventeenth of May, and summer in the idyllic mountains, as well as the chaotic adventure of raising two energetic boys. With vivid detail and illuminating descriptions of the landscape, Happy Times in Norway is infused with the wish that those cherished days could come again.
A History and Tour of the Hong Kong Cemetery
Hong Kong's oldest Western cemetery garden is located in Happy Valley. This history and tour highlights the need for urgent action to conserve the built and natural heritage resources of this important cultural landscape. The author challenges the reader to reconsider the basic approach to heritage conservation adopted in Hong Kong where a false dichotomy persists between natural and built heritage conservation initiatives. The Hong Kong Cemetery provides an excellent example of a precious cultural landscape which is deteriorating because simplistic approaches to site management have failed to understand and protect the complex interrelationship between the natural (flora and fauna habitats) and built (monuments and memorials) heritage resources. The first three chapters introduce the cemetery garden concept as it evolved in early nineteenth-century Europe, and was eventually established in Hong Kong by the British. The second half of the book provides a self-guided tour of the cemetery highlighting its resources as well as explaining the main conservation problems and possible solutions to protect the cemetery.
Colonial Built Environment in Asia, 1840 to 1940
Colonial built environments were an expression of imperial aspirations, a manifestation of power, a tool in the civilization of indigenous cultures, a re-creation of a home away from home, and a place to live and work for both colonizers and colonized. Experts on city planning, architecture, and Asian and imperial history detail colonization’s influence at both the top and bottom levels of society and its representation in stone, iron, and concrete. Creating the colonial built environment was a multilayered, unpredictable process. This study emphasizes the diversity of the colonial built form from Harbin to Hanoi and differing experiences of foreign rule, as well as the flexible interactions between colonizers and colonized and the many risks of building and living in such colonies and treaty ports.
Place and Identity in the American Mining Town
The first intensive analysis of sense of place in American mining towns, Hard as the Rock Itself: Place and Identity in the American Mining Town provides rare insight into the struggles and rewards of life in these communities. David Robertson contends that these communities - often characterized in scholarly and literary works as derelict, as sources of debasing moral influence, and as scenes of environmental decay - have a strong and enduring sense of place and have even embraced some of the signs of so-called dereliction. Robertson documents the history of Toluca, Illinois; Cokedale, Colorado; and Picher, Oklahoma, from the mineral discovery phase through mine closure, telling for the first time how these century-old mining towns have survived and how sense of place has played a vital role. Acknowledging the hardships that mining's social, environmental, and economic legacies have created for current residents, Robertson argues that the industry's influences also have contributed to the creation of strong, cohesive communities in which residents have always identified with the severe landscape and challenging, but rewarding way of life. Robertson contends that the tough, unpretentious appearance of mining landscapes mirrors qualities that residents value in themselves, confirming that a strong sense of place in mining regions, as elsewhere, is not necessarily wedded to an attractive aesthetic or even to a thriving economy.
Climate Change in Canada
Drought, floods, hurricanes, forest fires, ice storms, blackouts, dwindling fish stocks...what Canadian has not experienced one of these or more, or heard about the “greenhouse” effect, and not wondered what is happening to our climate? Yet most of us have a poor understanding of this extremely important issue, and need better, reliable scientific information. Hard Choices: Climate Change in Canada delivers some hard facts to help us make some of those hard choices.
This new collection of essays by leading Canadian scientists, engineers, social scientists, and humanists offers an overview and assessment of climate change and its impacts on Canada from physical, social, technological, economic, political, and ethical / religious perspectives. Interpreting and summarizing the large and complex literatures from each of these disciplines, the book offers a multidisciplinary approach to the challenges we face in Canada. Special attention is given to Canada’s response to the Kyoto Protocol, as well as an assessment of the overall adequacy of Kyoto as a response to the global challenge of climate change.
Hard Choices fills a gap in available books which provide readers with reliable information on climate change and its impacts that are specific to Canada. While written for the general reader, it is also well suited for use as an undergraduate text in environmental studies courses.