Book review – Naxos Audiobooks http://naxos-audiobooks.com/ Thu, 23 Jun 2022 14:19:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 https://naxos-audiobooks.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/icon-100x100.png Book review – Naxos Audiobooks http://naxos-audiobooks.com/ 32 32 Book Review: My Heart is a Wild Little Thing, Nigel Featherstone https://naxos-audiobooks.com/book-review-my-heart-is-a-wild-little-thing-nigel-featherstone/ Thu, 23 Jun 2022 13:30:07 +0000 https://naxos-audiobooks.com/book-review-my-heart-is-a-wild-little-thing-nigel-featherstone/ by Nigel Featherstone My heart is a wild little thing is an emotionally devastating yet ultimately hopeful exploration of love, family and place. Pushed to the limit by his suffocating dependent relationship with his aging mother, Patrick responds with a single act of foiled violence. In an attempt to deal with the complexity of his […]]]>

by Nigel Featherstone My heart is a wild little thing is an emotionally devastating yet ultimately hopeful exploration of love, family and place. Pushed to the limit by his suffocating dependent relationship with his aging mother, Patrick responds with a single act of foiled violence. In an attempt to deal with the complexity of his situation and his own emotions, he flees to the old farmhouse near the Snowy Mountains where he spent many treasured family vacations as a child.

Alone, Patrick reflects on his teenage years, young adulthood, and how his life came to be what it is now. Coming of age at the height of the AIDS crisis, Patrick’s fear and repression meant he never kissed or acted on his love for other boys and men, even as an adult. However, isolated in the farm where he spent his childhood, he finally knows intimacy in a short but intense idyll with Lewis, a mysterious musician who must soon return to Dublin. In the years that follow, Patrick’s life becomes even more intertwined with that of his mother, as he cares for her as her health declines. He occasionally returns to the farm for a brief reprieve, longing for the love he once had with Lewis.

Following Patrick’s life from childhood to middle age, My heart is a wild little thing considers family ties and what it takes to break free, and finally take charge of your own path. Featherstone’s description of Patrick’s loneliness and sense of disconnect with the world around him is heartbreaking. However, as he finally begins to prioritize his own happiness, Patrick notices the richness of the world around him – in food, nature, and his relationships. This detail is interspersed with contemplative flashbacks of his youth and his strained relationship with his family. These reflections often take on a melancholic and nostalgic tone, imbuing the novel with an ever-present sense of loss.

Coupled with the guilt Patrick feels about his frustration with his aging mother, My heart is a wild little thing has the potential to be overwhelmed with negativity, but Featherstone’s attention to detail and Patrick’s ultimately hopeful trajectory add a sense of optimism.

The natural world takes center stage, with Jimenbuen, the location of the farm, playing an almost character-like role. Patrick is transformed by his experiences in Jimbuen with Lewis, but the land itself – its isolation and wilderness – also offers a place of safety and release from the guilt and frustration Patrick feels over his difficult relationship. with his mother. Each location is rendered in precise and careful detail: Jimenbuen’s barn, the streets of Sydney and the sleepy country town where Patrick lives.

Read: Book Review: This All Come Back Now, edited by Mykaela Saunders

As Patrick’s bond with his mother grows increasingly strained, his love for Lewis remains a constant point of solace and hope. While he feels alienated from romance and relationships by his loneliness and lack of experience, queer love itself is never presented as alien. On the contrary, Patrick’s love for Lewis is the only thing that feels “right” in his life. Lewis and nature are intertwined in Patrick’s mind, as they meet on Jimenbuen’s property.

Evocative and moving, My heart is a wild little thing illustrates the complexity of relationships and freedom. Torn between his love and his frustration with his mother, Patrick struggles to take control of his life and follow his heart. Featherstone questions the power of love and the natural world in Patrick’s life, creating a captivating and moving read.

My heart is a wild little thing by Nigel Featherstone
Publisher: Ultimo Press
ISBN: 9781761150135
Format: Paperback
Pages: 288 pages
Release date: May 2022
MSRP: $32.99

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Book Review: This All Come Back Now, edited by Mykaela Saunders https://naxos-audiobooks.com/book-review-this-all-come-back-now-edited-by-mykaela-saunders/ Wed, 22 Jun 2022 00:43:37 +0000 https://naxos-audiobooks.com/book-review-this-all-come-back-now-edited-by-mykaela-saunders/ This groundbreaking collection showcases the humor and creativity of First Nations writers from so-called Australia. It aims to redress the plethora of cliche novels published by non-Indigenous speculative fiction writers who use First Nations characters, sacred sites, and cosmology as plot devices for “their own colonial Dreamtime fantasies.” Mykaela Saunders, Koori and Lebanese writer and […]]]>

This groundbreaking collection showcases the humor and creativity of First Nations writers from so-called Australia. It aims to redress the plethora of cliche novels published by non-Indigenous speculative fiction writers who use First Nations characters, sacred sites, and cosmology as plot devices for “their own colonial Dreamtime fantasies.”

Mykaela Saunders, Koori and Lebanese writer and teacher and winner of the Elizabeth Jolley Short Story, has brought together this kaleidoscope of speculative fiction to show the power of First Nations storytelling. As Saunders puts it, “Time travel isn’t so important when you’re in a culture that experiences all time simultaneously, not in a straight progressive line like Western cultures do.”

Speculative fiction is an expansive genre, encompassing the supernatural, dystopian fiction, gothic horror, science fiction, and fantasy. It’s all coming back now presents an explosive array of it all, written in styles that sometimes unexpectedly pit against each other.

Some are new, while many others have been republished from novels, poetry collections and literary journals like By the road. A Noteworthy Piece is a reprint of an excerpt from Samuel William Watson’s 1990 novel The Kadaitcha Sung, who explores the violence of settler colonialism in Australia within the framework of First Nations spiritual knowledge.

Some of the most memorable pieces written specifically for the collection imagine different visions of the apocalypse. John Morrissey’s “Five Minutes” is a meta-interpretation of a government department reacting to an invasion of gigantic centipedes while Timmah Bell’s experimental piece “An Invitation” tackles the phenomenon of buildings disappearing.

Like all anthologies, some will resonate more strongly than others for different readers. I found many pleasant, others puzzled. Those who like funny stories will find plenty of laughs in Adam Thompson’s Centrelink satire “Your Own Aborigine” and Merryana Salem’s parody of time-traveling filmmakers capturing footage of the Border War in “When From.” “Snake of Light” by Loki Liddle, an otherworldly fantasy story set in a small town pub was another memorable piece.

Many more feature thought-provoking conceptual proposals and some are downright chilling. The rapidly approaching climate catastrophe is never far from the surface, nor is the intergenerational psychic pain wrought by the horrors of genocide. So much of this news will haunt you long after you put the book down.

Read: Dance review: Arlequinade

It’s all coming back now is a mad dash through different universes and timelines, all wrapped up in the Book of the Year cover designed by talented Indigenous visual artist Jenna Lee. So many of these stories would make amazing movies; it’s a must-read for all Australian screenwriting talent scouts.

It’s all coming back now: An Anthology of First Nations Speculative Fiction, edited by Mykaela Saunders
Publisher: UQP
ISBN: 9780702265662
Format: Paperback
Pages: 360 pages
MSRP: $32.99
Release date: May 2, 2022

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Review: “Girls of the Fragrant Flower Garden”, Zhuqing Li https://naxos-audiobooks.com/review-girls-of-the-fragrant-flower-garden-zhuqing-li/ Mon, 20 Jun 2022 09:00:05 +0000 https://naxos-audiobooks.com/review-girls-of-the-fragrant-flower-garden-zhuqing-li/ GIRLS OF THE FLOWER-SCENTED GARDEN: Two sisters separated by the Chinese Civil Warby Zhuqing Li In the summer of 1949, young Chen Wenjun (“Jun”) got off a ferry in Jinmen, an island off the coast of southeastern China. She did not know that the communist People’s Liberation Army (PLA) occupied Fuzhou, her hometown, the night […]]]>

GIRLS OF THE FLOWER-SCENTED GARDEN: Two sisters separated by the Chinese Civil Warby Zhuqing Li


In the summer of 1949, young Chen Wenjun (“Jun”) got off a ferry in Jinmen, an island off the coast of southeastern China. She did not know that the communist People’s Liberation Army (PLA) occupied Fuzhou, her hometown, the night after she left. But in Jinmen, the anti-Communist nationalists held their ground. None of the 9,000 PLA ​​soldiers who fought on the beaches of Jinmen have returned home. Neither was Jun, who now lived in a different country from his family. Jun’s short visit to a friend soon turned into a long exile.

“Daughters of the Flower Fragrant Garden,” written by Jun’s niece, Zhuqing Li, a professor of East Asian studies at Brown, tells the gripping story of Jun’s decades-long struggle to find his way home. Li begins in the Flower Fragrant Garden, a lavish complex in Fuzhou overlooking the Min River, where Jun lived happily with her father, a powerful salt commissioner, his two wives, and their children. One of these children was another of Li’s aunts, Hong (a pseudonym), whose story Li neatly braids with Jun’s. down to the family and plunges it into misery.

As Jun struggles to survive Jinmen, it is Hong who suffers the most, and it is his struggle that drives this gripping book. After the death of their father from tuberculosis, Hong, a skilled and passionate doctor, must support the large family on her salary alone. she is dismayed when her little brother and nephew are handed over to PLA officers, exchanged for sacks of rice. In the most gripping pages of the book, Li describes in excruciating detail how Hong is forced to stand full-time outside the hospital with a sign labeling her (incorrectly) a counter-revolutionary while passers-by spit on her. . Soon after, she is “re-educated” in a remote mountain village where she spends grueling days planting rice and sweet potatoes. (Her husband, China’s most famous cardiologist, becomes a hospital cleaner).

Li wisely fades into the background as she unfolds these stories, occasionally surfacing to provide personal context. But her love for her aunts warms every page. If this exceptional book has one flaw, it is this: Li presents the sisters as quasi-saints, often going to great lengths to justify any seemingly morally ambiguous choices they make.

But what choices! Li unpacks the decisions each made to survive and explains how those decisions pushed them towards the ideologies of their governments. Jun is drawn into the Nationalist cause, helping coordinate the Anti-Communist and Russian-Resistant Union, marrying a Nationalist officer, and eventually establishing a thriving import-export business in Taiwan. In contrast, Hong strives to clear his name, calls his son Jiyue, or “Keep Leaping”, in recognition of Mao’s Great Leap Forward campaign and becomes a member of the party. By placing the stories of her aunts side by side, Li asks the reader two equally compelling questions: Will the sisters ever be reunited? And if so, will they even know each other?

The very day I finished this book, President Biden was asked if the United States would defend Taiwan if China attacked. His answer ? “That’s the commitment we made.” “Girls of the Flower-Scented Garden” is not a history of Taiwan-China relations, but by telling this gripping tale of a family divided by the “bamboo curtain”, Li sheds light on the birth of Taiwan – and why China might one day risk it all for to take it.


Deirdre Mask is the author of “The Address Book: What Street Addresses Reveal About Identity, Race, Wealth and Power”.


GIRLS OF THE FLOWER-SCENTED GARDEN: two sisters separated by the Chinese Civil War, by Zhuqing Li | Illustrated | 368 pages | WW Norton & Company | $27.95

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Book review: ‘Woman of Light’ a luminous and powerful multi-generational saga | Entertainment https://naxos-audiobooks.com/book-review-woman-of-light-a-luminous-and-powerful-multi-generational-saga-entertainment/ Sun, 19 Jun 2022 01:00:00 +0000 https://naxos-audiobooks.com/book-review-woman-of-light-a-luminous-and-powerful-multi-generational-saga-entertainment/ BY ASHLEY RIGGLESON FOR THE FREE LANCE–STAR Kali Fajardo-Anstine’s work has been on my radar for some time, and her debut novel, “Woman of Light” is one of my most anticipated releases of the year. I was so happy to have the chance to see the last of Fajardo–Anstine again. He did not disappoint. “Woman […]]]>

BY ASHLEY RIGGLESON FOR THE FREE LANCE–STAR

Kali Fajardo-Anstine’s work has been on my radar for some time, and her debut novel, “Woman of Light” is one of my most anticipated releases of the year. I was so happy to have the chance to see the last of Fajardo–Anstine again. He did not disappoint.

“Woman of Light” begins with the story of a woman known as the “Sleepy Prophet” in the American West. She is gifted with eyesight and her story unfolds when she finds an abandoned baby in the night. Readers quickly learn an abbreviated life story of these characters. This multigenerational saga then begins to explore the lives of women of subsequent generations. We meet Maria Josefina, who would do anything for her family, and her niece, Luz, who inherited her sight.

The story of this native Chicano family is not told chronologically and instead moves through time. However, as the novel develops, certain themes begin to develop through the generations. Fajardo-Anstine is not shy about addressing controversial issues such as poverty and racism. And although the fragmentation of this novel, as well as certain events that occur throughout its pages, suggest that this is a novel in which intergenerational trauma plays a key role, the love of family l for each other makes it bright and hopeful.

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When I started this book, I had no idea if it should be called a novel. The first leaps between generations were quite shocking, and it was hard to see how Fajardo-Anstine would make this story of disparate pieces a cohesive whole. Still, the author ends up pulling the threads together beautifully, and it strongly reminded me of Kelli Jo Ford’s “Crooked Hallelujah,” which takes a similar approach in its storytelling.

The characters and setting of this powerful and poignant novel are alive, and Fajardo-Anstine’s voice is entirely his own. And I can honestly say that, while one can draw comparisons to other novels (the aspects of “To Kill a Mockingbird” come to mind), this novel feels quirky and vital. And while Fajardo-Anstine explores difficult themes, there are moments of happiness and love between the characters, and the sadness is never too much to bear. Instead, as it should be, love wins out.

Ashley Riggleson is a freelance critic for Rappahannock County.

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Canyon schools postpone votes on health curriculum and book review policy https://naxos-audiobooks.com/canyon-schools-postpone-votes-on-health-curriculum-and-book-review-policy/ Fri, 17 Jun 2022 10:03:13 +0000 https://naxos-audiobooks.com/canyon-schools-postpone-votes-on-health-curriculum-and-book-review-policy/ At Monday’s Canyon Independent School District meeting, board members decided to postpone voting on vendors for its health program and process for removing books from classrooms and school libraries. One of the main reasons for tabling the measure had to do with newly elected board member Paul Blake giving him time to get up to […]]]>

At Monday’s Canyon Independent School District meeting, board members decided to postpone voting on vendors for its health program and process for removing books from classrooms and school libraries. One of the main reasons for tabling the measure had to do with newly elected board member Paul Blake giving him time to get up to speed and consider matters related to the measures.

During the public address portion of the meeting, several community speakers attacked the morals and character of longtime council members, with Superintendent Dr. Darryl Flusche being called out by name.

Local resident Carl Kinsey spoke of an alleged incident at Canyon High School during the spring semester where a boy allegedly walked into a girl’s bathroom and was chased out of the bathroom by a teacher. He also alleged that the teacher had been reprimanded for his gesture. He said the board had failed to do its job to protect the girls in their school district. Kinsey spoke about district policies that were responsible for incidents like this, but no specific policies were mentioned.

“I was told that the Canyon Independent School District is a public school district and that every student will be protected, but what about the girls who were in that bathroom when that boy walked in?” Kinsey asked. “No, you didn’t. This district has proven that they won’t protect your daughters.”

Carl Kinsey addresses the Canyon ISD School Board on Monday during its regular policy meeting regarding student safety.

Much of the public forum portion of the meeting focused on some lessons and terminology regarding the health curriculum and how to teach health, including verbiage such as “pregnant person” rather than “woman.” The claim from some of the community commenters was that language like this promotes an LGBTQ+ ideology. Mental health programs and programs were attacked as an invasion and did not reflect the core values ​​of the entire Canyon community by members of the public.

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NDG Book Review: ‘My Seven Black Fathers’ Is A Mentor’s Motivation https://naxos-audiobooks.com/ndg-book-review-my-seven-black-fathers-is-a-mentors-motivation/ Thu, 16 Jun 2022 02:05:42 +0000 https://naxos-audiobooks.com/ndg-book-review-my-seven-black-fathers-is-a-mentors-motivation/ By Terri Schlichenmeyer Studies show that “a stay-at-home dad matters to his black son,” no matter his income or what his neighborhood looks like. Even a father figure works: Jawando says he’s the man he is today thanks to the ‘black men I had access to through my mother’s work and where I went to […]]]>

By Terri Schlichenmeyer

Studies show that “a stay-at-home dad matters to his black son,” no matter his income or what his neighborhood looks like. Even a father figure works: Jawando says he’s the man he is today thanks to the ‘black men I had access to through my mother’s work and where I went to school’ .

His stepfather, Joseph Jacob, gave Jawando his “Black American identity.” His fourth grade teacher, Mr Williams – the first black teacher he had ever seen – taught him respect and respectability. His mother’s co-worker, Jay Fletcher, a gay man, taught Jawando that showing vulnerability was necessary to be “whole”.

Coach Wayne Holmes showed him how to succeed. Deen Sanwoola, a friend and mentor, gave Jawando a “perspective” on his “Nigerian identity”. Barack Obama, with whom Jawando worked, showed Jawando his “birthmark” in his unconventional name. And from his own biological father, once they reconnected and traveled together in Nigeria, he found forgiveness and understanding.

“Now the healing could begin,” Jawando said. “All it took was a four thousand mile journey together.”

Sit down and pay attention.

This is what “My Seven Black Fathers” asks you to do. It oozes gratitude and grace, it shines with anger and calm, and, as author Will Jawando tells his story, he asks you to be careful.

It’s not hard to do. Jawando’s childhood, which he recounts in detail, resembles that of many black boys, but with one difference: Seven black men volunteered their time to help educate him, which he says is not doesn’t happen to many children.

And yet, despite its benefits, getting the mentorship has sometimes been a struggle – a surprising point that surfaces but isn’t explored, nor is Jawando’s reasoning for why it matters. Like any good storyteller, he tells, then lets his story linger, leaving an impression you’ll come back to, time and time again.

It should come as no surprise that “My Seven Black Fathers” might also inspire you to mentor a child, or get involved in some way with a child’s life now or soon. In the meantime, this memoir about being a black man has a lot to offer.

On the way to the bookstore or library, pick up “Daddy Speaks Love” by Leah Henderson, illustrated by EB Lewis. This is a nice picture book for children aged 3 to 5 about the love between father and child.

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BOOK REVIEW: Two brave men and their crusades | Way of life https://naxos-audiobooks.com/book-review-two-brave-men-and-their-crusades-way-of-life/ Mon, 13 Jun 2022 18:00:00 +0000 https://naxos-audiobooks.com/book-review-two-brave-men-and-their-crusades-way-of-life/ “The Fox Feats and SHARK Tales of Pollution Fighter James F. Phillips & Animal Rights Warrior Steven O. Hindi” by Pauline Marie Gambill is a powerful and inspiring book about two brave men: James F. Phillips (1930-2001), alias ” The Fox,” and Steven Hindi, founder of animal rights organization SHARK. In November 1970, David Dominick, […]]]>

“The Fox Feats and SHARK Tales of Pollution Fighter James F. Phillips & Animal Rights Warrior Steven O. Hindi” by Pauline Marie Gambill is a powerful and inspiring book about two brave men: James F. Phillips (1930-2001), alias ” The Fox,” and Steven Hindi, founder of animal rights organization SHARK.

In November 1970, David Dominick, Commissioner of the Federal Water Quality Administration of the United States Department of the Interior, said this:

“An unknown crusader against pollution and polluters calls himself The Fox. He is waging a private battle to publicize and punish industries that pollute the air and waterways of his community.

“You have probably read about his exploits in the newspaper. Under cover of darkness, he clogged weirs with hay bales and clogged chimneys. More recently, he spilled a barrel of fluids into the reception room of the company that spilled it.

“The Robin Hood secret in us can sympathize with The Fox. But one can also wonder about the feelings of indignation and frustration that animate this mysterious individual. A citizen who takes it upon himself to harass polluters obviously has little faith that existing laws and programs will be used to clean up the country’s waters.

“The Fox, by his actions, challenges us all with the question: Do we, as individuals in a technological society, have the will to control and prevent the degradation of our environment?

The fact that over 50 years later this remains an important and relevant question is why Gambill decided to write about Phillips’ exploits as The Fox. During his lifetime and after his death, it was well known that Phillips was The Fox. Concerned citizens, including many police officers, supported and protected Phillips’ actions. Reporters were contacting Phillips for comment on The Fox’s activities.

Phillips created stickers that read “Armor Dial Kills Our Water” and “Armor Dial Pollutes Our Air”. Phillips supporters took to stores across America and stuck the stickers on Dial soap bars on the shelves. In a memo to Armor Dial executives signed by “the distressed animals of the Fox River Valley,” Phillips explained, “We have counted on you to help keep our environment clean for the past six years and you betrayed that faith. You killed our fish and sniffed our air. When asked what could be done, you did not answer in good faith. You repeatedly said that you would stop polluting our air. and dumping trash in our water, but you didn’t stop. We were done talking.

Phillips’ efforts resulted in a large-scale boycott of Armor Dial products, an Illinois lawsuit against Armor Dial for violating emissions standards, and eventual corrective action taken by the company.

In the same way, Phillips has also successfully pressured other companies to stop polluting our environment.

Steve Hindi was an avid fisherman and hunter who was transformed after witnessing a live pigeon shoot.

He has since dedicated his life to exposing the horrors of live bird shoots staged for the “entertainment” of attendees, rodeos, bullfights, circuses, canned hunts, cockfights, shark kills, puppy mills and other operations. large-scale animal husbandry, and other cruelties to animals.

At the Hegins Pigeon Hunt in Pennsylvania, Hindi challenged an event organizer to a “physical showdown…without time limits, rules, refereeing or any kind of protective gear.”

Hindi said he would pay $10,000 to the community park association if his opponent won the fight, but if Hindi won, the skeet shoot would be canceled and never held again. Hindi received no response.

For several years, Hindi and other dedicated SHARK investigators clashed with U.S. Senator James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), who staged political fundraising skeet shoots.

SHARK investigator Mark Brumbaugh said: “I personally watched (Hindi) crawl through thick thorny bushes and get scratched and covered in blood in order to save injured pigeons still alive the next day. from a Jim Inhofe fundraiser in Oklahoma.”

Gambill concludes: “As a result of Hindi’s continued efforts, attention has been – and will continue to be – focused in a considerable way on the horrific cruelty inflicted on animals and exposing those who commit it.

“Countless animals have been spared cruelty and/or senseless death because of his work. He can continue to feel satisfaction about it. As he noted in 1998, when he was imprisoned for a short time after he interrupted a goose hunt in Woodstock, Illinois, and saw through the jail window a flock of geese flying – “It makes me feel good. I think maybe, just maybe, they are the ones still alive because we warned them.”

People can agree or disagree with the tactics used by Phillips and Hindi, but at least agree on this: they show us the true meaning of “walking right”, not just “talking right”. should”.

And, even if we don’t engage in colorful and risky endeavors like those of Phillips or Hindi, we can still find some spiritual fulfillment when we treat others, including vulnerable people and animals, as we would want to be treated. if we were the ones who depended on others to protect us; and when we support organizations and engage in activities that protect animals or vulnerable people and the planet we all share.

Canandaigua resident Joel Freedman contributes essays and book reviews to the Finger Lakes Time frequently.

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Book Review | Ambitious sci-fi that’s sure to entertain https://naxos-audiobooks.com/book-review-ambitious-sci-fi-thats-sure-to-entertain/ Sun, 12 Jun 2022 09:18:00 +0000 https://naxos-audiobooks.com/book-review-ambitious-sci-fi-thats-sure-to-entertain/ King Rao is neither a king nor a Rao – the latter is a popular surname in the Telugu state of India, and the importance of a surname needs no explanation to the inhabitants of the subcontinent. King Rao’s grandfather, a Dalit landowner, adapted the name so he could facilitate his business prospects as a […]]]>

King Rao is neither a king nor a Rao – the latter is a popular surname in the Telugu state of India, and the importance of a surname needs no explanation to the inhabitants of the subcontinent. King Rao’s grandfather, a Dalit landowner, adapted the name so he could facilitate his business prospects as a coconut farmer. He built his family home and coconut empire on his land, which he acquired from its landlord; Why? It’s another story of little consequence in the larger scheme of things.

Immortal King Rao is the first novel by Vauhini Vara, who worked as the wall street journal technology journalist, and as a business writer for the new yorker. And, his book begins with King Rao leaving this world as the most influential person to ever live. A Dalit from a remote South Indian village, who studies hard, travels to the United States for higher education, marries a young woman who shares his passion for making it big in the world, and eventually rises to the top of one of the first computer companies, which ends up being the most valuable company. The Coconut Corporation which builds one of the first computers would have a lot of importance in what would be a government of shareholders. And, it is still King Rao who is at the origin of this change of nation-state.

And his story is told by his daughter, who is a surrogate child with the power to connect to the internet through her mind’s eye, whom he named Clarinet – the ability gained through genetic code – “Harmonica ” induced in the bloodstream. . Athena, the girl is imprisoned in a cell and is accused of murder — and the Algo (short for algorithm) would decide her fate based on a social profile, which is non-existent. King Rao kept Athena’s existence a secret, for obvious reasons – he successfully tried the genetic code on his surrogate daughter – a program that was declared a failure.

And it is she who reveals that King Rao engineered the world’s transition to shareholder government, where citizens collectively own corporations. And it is guided by Master Algorithm. It is this Algo that uses social profiles to decide social capital, the amount of food, water, energy, even education, hospitals and criminal justice for citizens. A system developed to end corruption and ruin, which ironically ends in chaos and Hothouse Earth.

Does any of this mean anything to you. Of course it is – on many levels.

Part personal story, part speculative, dystopian and realistic fiction – all woven into a single story – Vauhini Vara seems to have used his knowledge of technology and the business world to recreate a scenario – where the earth is heading towards the extinction, and the world is heading towards ruin, though it is controlled by a computer algorithm meant to make things better.

In the novel, ironically, King Rao is thrown out of power by the same Algo he had built.

He moves away from the mainland, chooses one of the islands to build a house and do his experiments. It is here that he sees his daughter growing up, who connects to the world via the Internet. What happens to King Rao, who decides to inject himself with the clarinet. And what keeps Athena away from Blake Island is more or less the rest of the story.

However, as you read through the book, reviewing Athena’s experiences personally and those she gathered through the clarinet, you discover a world that increasingly resembles yours in many cases, where one gradually but surely loses control of one’s life, as knowingly and unknowingly we begin to react to computer codes and algorithms, where there are companies that indeed hold far too much power, and capital is proportional to influence . Vauhini’s Coconut Corporation and shareholder government are grimly referable. This dystopian aspect of the novel is one of the reasons you turn the pages wanting to know more. Yet another reason is the eloquence of the prose, which is compelling reading despite the complexity of the narrative style.

Briefly by Vauhini Vara Immortal King Rao is an impressive first novel.

Immortal King Rao
By Vauhini Vara
HarperCollins
pp.374, Rs.699

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Book review: Ronnie Earle, Gangbuster – Arts https://naxos-audiobooks.com/book-review-ronnie-earle-gangbuster-arts/ Sat, 11 Jun 2022 01:07:49 +0000 https://naxos-audiobooks.com/book-review-ronnie-earle-gangbuster-arts/ Here’s a true crime story that’s every bit as compelling as your favorite pulpy, fictional counterpart. Set here in Austin, mostly in the 1970s, it was a time when our beautiful city was still largely a backwater, far less enlightened in terms of the criminal justice system, and rampant in official corruption. The thriving music […]]]>

Here’s a true crime story that’s every bit as compelling as your favorite pulpy, fictional counterpart. Set here in Austin, mostly in the 1970s, it was a time when our beautiful city was still largely a backwater, far less enlightened in terms of the criminal justice system, and rampant in official corruption. The thriving music scene was still a closely guarded secret to the outside world.

It’s a story ripe for writer/musician Jesse Sublett, whose portfolio includes a steamy trio that features bassist/PI Martin Fender, a harrowing murder mystery/memoir and, most recently, another saga of true crime, Austin Gangsters of the 1960s: The organized crime that shook the capital. This new book, featuring adjacent timelines and compatible storylines, could easily be considered a companion volume. It’s a tale filled with real heroes, repulsive villains, and a host of secondary characters that any self-respecting crime novelist would be proud to have brought to the page. Ultimately, Sublett points out, it’s a story of good versus evil.

The antagonist here is physically imposing sociopathic ex-felon Frank Smith, a millionaire scrap metal dealer and bail bondsman with deep ties to the network of good old boys within the Travis County court system. He eventually bumps into newly elected district attorney Ronnie Earle, a breath of fresh air whose status as an outsider, acceptance of the social changes forged throughout the 1960s, and openness to justice penal run counter to the previous status quo. Caught in the middle are Ike and Jane Rabb, honest, hardworking people whose family dumping business becomes the obsessive target of harassment, arson, and attempted murder by Smith and his accomplices.

Sublett deserves kudos for fleshing out and humanizing this fascinating cast of memorable characters, most notably Smith himself, whose charming swagger and affable personality are merely camouflage for his dark, caustic impulses. The author gives us a good sense of a pre-ATX Austin, from descriptions of businesses long ago shut down and eating establishments to the surprisingly cozy and downright corrupt relationship Smith had with courthouse officials. . It makes a point of highlighting the truly progressive, transformative and nationally recognized accomplishments of Ronnie Earle during his more than 30 years as a Travis County District Attorney. real time for American statesman. For his part, Sublett constructs the story with a sharp eye and a badass flair. This stuff is his bread and butter, and although hampered in his research by the pandemic lockdown, he was still able to give us a gripping account of this true Austin crime saga.


Last Gangster in Austin: Frank Smith, Ronnie Earle and the End of a Junkyard Mafia by Jesse Sublett, University of Texas Press, 224 pp., $21.95 (paper)

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Sloane Crosley’s Cult Classic book review https://naxos-audiobooks.com/sloane-crosleys-cult-classic-book-review/ Thu, 09 Jun 2022 17:43:00 +0000 https://naxos-audiobooks.com/sloane-crosleys-cult-classic-book-review/ Placeholder while loading article actions Sloane Crosley’s second novel, an unromantic comedy satirizing start-up culture, modern dating, urban aesthetes and other millennial woes, is dedicated to “men”. With his gift for precision, the author clarifies: well, “some of the men”. Crosley’s first two books, “I Was Told There’d Be Cake” and “How Did You Get […]]]>
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Sloane Crosley’s second novel, an unromantic comedy satirizing start-up culture, modern dating, urban aesthetes and other millennial woes, is dedicated to “men”. With his gift for precision, the author clarifies: well, “some of the men”.

Crosley’s first two books, “I Was Told There’d Be Cake” and “How Did You Get This Number,” were collections of essays reminiscent of Nora Ephron, filled with tender scenes covered in shrill jokes, the emotional tenor of his carefully calibrated humor, almost as if informed by an algorithm. Her debut novel, “The Clasp,” centered around similar themes, brought to life by a sophisticated 20-something cast.

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In “Cult Classic,” Crosley turns his satirical gaze on love in an age of search options, data trails, Instagram-imposed memories, an ever-present past. Its heroine, Lola, an inexhaustibly ironic copywriter, is engaged to Boots, a glassblower who went to Brown and who, Lola observes more than once, is 6ft 3in tall – as if his physical presence always registers her. like a list of facts, a walking Hinge profile. Those winning qualities aside, Boots doesn’t get Lola’s full attention. She’s preoccupied with a box full of letters from her exes, who she often thinks about; it doesn’t help that their personal sites and semi-professional portraits, their grids populated with newborn girls, their more than lukewarm reviews of overly long second novels are just a few keystrokes away.

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Then, surreal, the all-too-present past presents itself to Lola IRL; over the course of a few days, she meets a series of her exes, each time struggling to experience something like closure. There’s Amos, a curmudgeon who doesn’t like smartphones, beaches and cushions; there’s Willis, a former Olympian who now lives in the Midwest with a health coach; there’s Jonathan, Lola’s college boyfriend, with whom she exchanged wry birthday cards and Polaroids, their relationship “hampered by kindness”; there is Oscar; there is Philip; there is Aaron; there is Knox; there is Peter; there are others, which pile up like events in a newsfeed, the depth of their stories flattened by the timeliness with which Lola passes them by, the content of their characters pressed into the pleasing form of his criticisms (often very funny).

“Could I be with someone I dated if only I had been just a Hair less critical? Lola wonders. The fact that she is aware of her habits can protect her from the trivial accusation of enmity. But its tendency to confuse men — or at least some of them — into a blur of micro-annoyances, crudely worded demands for non-monogamy, and unevenly distributed bills undermines the love story of much meaning or of pleasure: it doesn’t matter that Lola ends with Boots, when their relationship, like the others before her, can be reduced to a few superficial qualities, her size and the hobbies of her friends, eating cereal salads with spades picnics in the park?

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Crosley’s fast-paced wit and plot lends itself better to some of the later “Cult Classic” scenes, which take place in a marble-laden boot space inside an abandoned synagogue, complete with espresso, but , notably, no cold-pressed juice, on offer. Here, we learn that Lola’s ex-dating was no accident, but part of a scheme hatched by her former partner in flirtation, Clive, “a Fitzgeraldian figure with an appalling carbon footprint.” The two worked together at a now-folded magazine, Modern Psychology, which inspired him to start a business with Lola as his unwitting test subject. Could immersion therapy cure nostalgia and indecisiveness in love? Hard to say. “It’s not rocket science,” notes Clive. “I mean, it’s not Science neither does science. His directness is charming, and his charm attracts a team of workers whose commitment borders on voluntary exploitation. “I would do that for free,” exclaims one of his buddies. To which an indignant Lola replies: “you do do it for free.

The cult quality of companies offering camaraderie instead of a living wage is an ideal subject for Crosley, who confuses the setup but warmly regards those who fall for it. After the decline of modern psychology, Lola herself is caught in an unsatisfactory position on an artistic site, “covering culture instead of creating it”.

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Inevitably, his work affects his personal life. Lola laments that she has become a superficial consumer, a “people hoarder”, “detailing… faults as if I had none”. In a moving moment of sincerity, she observes, “perhaps the Internet has spoiled us more than we suspected and we already suspected a lot”.

Although a longer-lasting love is presented as an alternative to internet glamor, Crosley doesn’t seem to commit to that deepening of character and connection by the end. Instead, the book is a fun mirror on a set of alienated townsfolk, an endless source of clean-cut catches.

Maddie Crum is a writer and editor in New York.

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