Open Letters Monthly, May 2013


It looks as though April showers—and snowstorms—have finally brought a few May flowers. With or without showers, we also have the May issue of Open Letters Monthly, which comes with some choice buds and blossoms of its own:

Rohan Maitzen gives us a review of Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life… and then the review that might have been… and frankly, had she kept going I would have kept reading.

Max Ross looks at the divided lives of André Aciman’s Harvard Square.

Reviewing the reviewers, Elisa Gabbert takes a look at how Kate Zambreno’s “critical memoir” Heroines has been received.

Pedja Jurisic takes issue with the backward-looking myth-making of Téa Obreht’s The Tiger’s Wife.

John Cotter approves of Mark Wallace’s forays into fiction, Dead Carnival and The Quarry and the Lot.

Steve Donoghue clears off the coffee table for Abbeville Press’ handsome reissue of John James Audubon’s iconic Birds of America.

And speaking of iconic… Steve Danziger takes a sideways look at the “garbled madness” of Richard Hell’s biography, I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp.

Maria Rybakova muses on a father’s absence and Marco Roth’s The Scientists.

Colleen Shea looks at Yoko Ogawa’s Buddhism-inspired story cycle Revenge: Eleven Dark Tales.

Anthony Stewart is happily surprised by Shane Book’s Ceiling of Sticks: “the verse introduces us to the world as we thought we knew it, but then asks a lot more of our perceptions than it is our habit to commit.”

Greg Waldmann piques my interest by declaring Marc Ambinder and D.B. Grady’s Deep State: Inside the Government Secrecy Industry a “very useful and annoying book.”

From Michael Ives, an original poem excerpted from his Soft Perimeter.

Jonathan Aprea tracks Ben Mirov’s through his poetry collection, Hider Roser.

Steve Danziger resurfaces with an interview with this month’s cover artist Laura Carton about her fascinating photographs of porn-less porn sets, “a kind of Rorschach Test of viewer perversity” (I’m not sure I agree with that, but if it gets readers to click through to the weird and wonderful art then I’m all for the pull quote).

Joshua Harmon waxes eloquent Talking Heads, Bohannon, and the death of cool by hyperlink.

Douglass Shand-Tucci continues his American Aristocracy series with the art of Copley Square.

Irma Heldman’s “It’s a Mystery,” gives us a bit of the British and Irish together, with her look at Mick Herron’s Dead Lions and Stephen Talty’s Black Irish.

Phillip A. Lobo has an imperative for Bioshock Infinite: “Go play this game. I unequivocally exhort you to skip this review until you’ve already finished the game, or if you truly intend never to play it.”


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