February 24, 2006


John Shannon

Once the outrage subsided, I started to question the ethics of a newspaper allowing someone so obviously delusional to expose herself so nakedly. It's all very sad, really.

Steven Augustine

This says it all: " 'I made a conscious decision that I would prefer to live with the often debilitating effects of my mental problem and be a functional writer,' she said."


It's terribly embarrassing, isn't it? Every line made me cringe. And to say of students who went on to success: "They wouldn't exist without me" -- crikey.

The Sanity Inspector

She's dressed in a black flamenco-style skirt, with black-stiletto-heeled boots, and a long black coat with flame-red trim

David Rakoff once described that wardrobe as "Southwestern pot-smoker chic."

Kevin Smokler

Oh good lord. And please pass me my eyes if you see them. I think they just rolled on onto the floor.

valentine bonnaire

Kate Braverman and Raymond Carver are cut from the same cloth, and a fabulous fabric that is indeed....

I finally got to meet a Literary IDOL of mine since 1979 at Dutton's in Brentwood the other night. That would be KATE BRAVERMAN.

Palm Latitudes and Frida K will go down in Feminist Literary History & ..... I can't wait to see what she is going to write about her time in San Fran.

She's 'bout the only reason I'd drive 93 miles south...& did.


Steven Augustine

Nice try, Kate...

Silvie Paul

I was in disbelief until I reached the bit about her mental illness and then it became just sad. I agree that it was, at the very least, unkind of the Times to run the piece in light of that. Her quotes are so grandiose that they do have the sound of a bipolar rant.

Dan Wickett

While the Times certainly exposes these comments to a greater audience, from those who attended a reading of hers recently in Ann Arbor, MI, everybody who runs into her is hearing the exact same thing from her in terms of her importance.

Pat Hartman

I hope this isn't gauche, but anybody who has been reading here might be interested to see this Braverman article.

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  • The Elegant Variation is "Fowler’s (1926, 1965) term for the inept writer’s overstrained efforts at freshness or vividness of expression. Prose guilty of elegant variation calls attention to itself and doesn’t permit its ideas to seem naturally clear. It typically seeks fancy new words for familiar things, and it scrambles for synonyms in order to avoid at all costs repeating a word, even though repetition might be the natural, normal thing to do: The audience had a certain bovine placidity, instead of The audience was as placid as cows. Elegant variation is often the rock, and a stereotype, a cliché, or a tired metaphor the hard place between which inexperienced or foolish writers come to grief. The familiar middle ground in treating these homely topics is almost always the safest. In untrained or unrestrained hands, a thesaurus can be dangerous."


  • The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald


    Penelope Fitzgerald's second novel is the tale of Florence Green, a widow who seeks, in the late 1950s, to bring a bookstore to an isolated British town, encountering all manner of obstacles, including incompetent builders, vindictive gentry, small minded bankers, an irritable poltergeist, but, above all, a town that might not, in fact, want a bookshop. Fitzgerald's prose is spare but evocative – there's no wasted effort and her work reminds one of Hemingway's dictum that every word should fight for its right to be on the page. Florence is an engaging creation, stubbornly committed to her plan even as uncertainty regarding the wisdom of the enterprise gnaws at her. But The Bookshop concerns itself, finally, with the astonishing vindictiveness of which provincials are capable, and, as so much English fiction must, it grapples with the inevitabilities of class. It's a dense marvel at 123 pages, a book you won't want to – or be able to – rush through.
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    Tim Krabbé's superb 1978 memoir-cum-novel is the single best book we've read about cycling, a book that will come closer to bringing you inside a grueling road race than anything else out there. A kilometer-by-kilometer look at just what is required to endure some of the most grueling terrain in the world, Krabbé explains the tactics, the choices and – above all – the grinding, endless, excruciating pain that every cyclist faces and makes it heart-pounding rather than expository or tedious. No writer has better captured both the agony and the determination to ride through the agony. He's an elegant stylist (ably served by Sam Garrett's fine translation) and The Rider manages to be that rarest hybrid – an authentic, accurate book about cycling that's a pleasure to read. "Non-racers," he writes. "The emptiness of those lives shocks me."