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Showing posts from January, 2016

Ubiquitous Death

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It just worked out that four works I encountered recently—in a movie, a foreign film, a video and a novel—all dealt with various aspects of death. Surprisingly, none of it was depressing.
Book cover design by Kelly Blair; image from www.goodreads.com Well, okay, some people find the apocalypse depressing, but I LOVE it. Especially when it's presented as well as in The Road or Station Eleven.
The Dog Stars was recommended by a fellow editor when I put out a social-media call for apocalyptic-read recommendations. Peter Heller's first fiction book takes place in the next few decades after a pandemic has killed most of the population and left many of the survivors with The Blood Disease, an auto-immune system threat. The protagonist is tortured by an act in his past, let alone trying to survive a new agricultural production system, murderous gangs and loss. But despite his flaws, we cheer and cry with Hig all along. Best of all, the book manages to have a satisfying ending, which is …

Two Blue Covers

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The only connection I could make between the two works I’d like to recommend this week is that both have blue covers... Photo In the better-late-than-never category, I found a CD called Trinity Requiem with music composed by Robert Moran. It was commissioned to commemorate the tenth anniversary of 9/11 and features a youth choir from, poignantly, Trinity Wall Street Church, and the recording includes, serendipitously, a siren left unedited at the beginning of the Offertory. There are three other good pieces on the CD (Seven Sounds Unseen, Notturno in Weiss and Requiem for a Requiem), but the eponymous composition is exactly what this minimalist likes. My only disappointment was that I couldn’t find a photo credit for the cover image, which is Turrell-ish. (Which means utterly beautiful and sublime, all you millennials who’d never heard of him before Drake’s “Hotline Bling.”)
My other blue cover is on Nancy Horan’s Under the Wide and Starry Sky (Ballantine, 2013). This is a historical fic…

Heads Being Used Here

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I have seen several pieces on screen lately that deal with using our heads. However, each discussed the head in conjunction with other factors.
Brit TV series, River, lives up to its acclaim. A one-off mini-series of six episodes, it managed to grip me immediately in its treatment of how grief not only affects the heart but also the head. Stellan Skarsgård and Nicola Walker are police officers in this crime drama but in the name of spoilers, I won’t say much more. Other sympathetic performances come from actors like Lesley Manville, but I didn’t really buy Georgina Rich as a police psychologist, at least in the way she chose to/the director asked her to act it. Anyway, the takeaway is that you can’t always use your head in exclusion of the contributions of the heart, either personally or sometimes even professionally. Encouraging symbiosis between the two can facilitate redemption, serenity or at least a sense of acceptance.
A year ago, I loved La Grande Bellezza (The Great Beauty) so w…