Yes, something besides the NYRB, I beg you
Posted February 19, 2007on:
At the New Republic blog, Open University, Jeffrey Herf sends out a flare for a weekly review of books (via Literary Saloon). The closest periodical that comes even close to the beauty of Times Literary Supplement (subscribe, subscribe, subscribe) is New York Review of Books and we all know how I feel about it. (Yuck & Yawn.) I’ve been pleased to see, as the link has made the rounds, so many bloggers expressing their love of TLS and London Review of Books. It’s a real shame that we have to look to England for such book coverage. This made me think of poor Literary Review of Canada which, from one skim I gave it several months ago, aimed to be a lesser NYRB. I’ll flip through a new issue to see if that’s changed.
Herf boasts that TNR’s book coverage is second to none in the USA, by his standards. Has anyone read it and do you agree?
Chris Abani is profiled in the L.A. Times for the release of his latest novel Virgin of Flames (via Confessions). As usual there is too much on him and too little on the book, but it was interesting to read about his experiences when he moved to Los Angeles and Colin Channer’s thoughts on Abani’s writing.
Abani himself, though, has grown tired of conforming to expectations: He sees himself as an Igbo writer, a British writer, a black writer and a Los Angeles writer. “GraceLand,” said Channer, was “Chris rebelling against the idea of what an African writer should write about. The industry of postcolonial studies imposes on writers the obligation to write about being formerly colonized…. When you venture from that, I’m not sure a lot of critics or academics know quite what to do with you.”
Yes! Yes, yes, yes. I’m fairly sure that Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus was criticised for not being political enough, or too “middle-class”–because you know her characters weren’t all in tribal dress, dancing around a fire or with stomachs distended with flies buzzing around their eyes like on tv. This is why that “postcolonial” term often makes me edgy. The word “memoir” makes me shudder, “postcolonial” gives me an eye tic.
I can’t help but roll my eyes and sigh at renewed calls at some Jamaican politicians renewed calls for reparation from the British government, coinciding with this the 200th year anniversary commemorating the abolition of the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade. I sigh and roll my eyes because Jamaica has a corrupt government, with short-sighted, selfish leaders, many of whom are in cahoots with the criminal element that continues to transform my Jamaica beyond recognition. I don’t see this money, if we even get it, funding anything much beyond new SUV’s, gunmen and vacation allowance.