June 16, 2010



I didn't particularly like it either, although it did have a grim fascination that pulled me along, waiting to see what poor Kathy and her Hailsham classmates would have plucked from their young bodies. A genre leap to creepy thrillerdom for Ishiguro, whose Remains of the Day remains, because of its English butler, among the saddest, most human of novels. His, a deeper, more permanent wound near the end of the story than those cuts of body parts.

Paul Lamb



Wow, that's pretty funny. Am a HUGE Coltrane fan, was listening to Naima while typing. Thus "Tranes" ... Sorta tempted to leave it as is.

tod goldberg

Love Harley Jane. One of the best humans ever.


I agree completely about the novel. It was well told, but also very obvious. A problem when lit writers dip into genre. THey often don't know they're ploughing no new ground.

Oh, and welcome back. How did the teaching go?

Lawrence Tate

OK. For once and for all, as the man from Eltingville would say, I demand to know: is Harley Jane any kin to Roman Kozak, the Billboard staffer who wrote a book about CBGB and died young in '88? (She's not mentioned in his NY Times obit, but is she a cousin or somethin'?)


Saramago died.


^ What?


Saramago, despite his age, wrote with amazing energy and passion, an inspiration for those of us still trying.

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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."


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