Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Still, you never know when you're going to read a book that you really like or that makes others pale in comparison. The Chaneysville Incident is such a novel.
I came to read The Chaneysville Incident after asking for suggestions for a big book for my long flights to and from Japan. One of my work colleagues suggested it, and though I'd never heard of it or author John Bradley, I decided to give it a try.
I'm really glad I did. On the surface, the novel is a well-honed and affecting story of historian John Washington's attempt to discover what happened to thirteen runaway slaves in Chaneysville, Pennsylvania. The protagonist's efforts to reconstruct the past elevate the narrative, through various rhetorical devices and an interesting contrast that plays out throughout the novel between historical detachment and historical discovery and recreation.
Googling the novel, I was surprised that the book has garnered only minimal praise and seems to have become almost forgotten. Certainly, as a novel of the black experience in America, I would rank The Chaneysville Incident alongside anything from the past forty years, including Morrison's Beloved or Song of Solomon.
Monday, September 15, 2008
Ostensibly a thriller about a self-confessed member of The Department for the Final Disposition of Irredeemable Persons, Bad Monkeys is somewhere in between a parody of a thriller and an actual thriller. Ruff treads the line pretty well, and the result is a fun and weird concoction.
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
After all, in this time of environmental uncertainty, who doesn't want a vice president who denies that climate change is man-made, disputes the findings of scientists, blocks moves to list animals as endangered species, opposes ballot initiatives to protect species from industry, and is beholden to big oil and development.
Environmentalists can't corral Palin (Associated Press)
Friday, September 05, 2008
I've been in touch with Travis through all stages of this creation, from the early drafts to the final edits, and I can state emphatically that the book has truly been a labor of love, meticulously researched and well-crafted.