Book Review: The Street Sweeper

The Street Sweeper: A Novel by Elliot Perlman (New York: Riverhead Books, 2012. 640 pp) Born to second-generation Jewish Australians of East European descent, Elliot Perlman studied at Monash University. While working as a judge’s associate, Perlman submitted a short story that eventually won The Age Short Story Award. Upon becoming a full-time writer, Perlman’s debut novel, Three Dollars, won The Age Book of the Year and the Betty Trask Prize. He lives in Melbourne, Australia. History as the Spoils of War History is written by the victor. When peace arrives and diktats emerge, the narrative that develops often becomes one sided. For this reason, we can never conclusively know history because our narratives carry bias. I vividly remember surprise… Read More →

Book Review: Hark! A Vagrant

Hark! A Vagrant by Kate Beaton (New York: Drawn and Quarterly, 2011. 160pp) Kate Beaton was born in Nova Scotia, and has a degree in history and anthropology from Mount Allison University. She publishes a new comic to her website about once a week. Call Me Pretentious Call me pretentious, but I don’t do the whole graphic novel/comic book thing. It conjures up images of greasy-faced nerds with coke-bottle lenses eating potato chips, their mom doting on them, hand and foot, while they play another “fascinating” game of Dungeons and Dragons. Literary supremacy it most certainly is not. But, an English-teaching friend of mine instructs a graphic novels course. Upon learning of this course, I figured if it’s good enough… Read More →

Book Review: The Lifespan of a Fact

The Lifespan of a Fact by John D’Agata and Jim Fingal (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2012. 128 pp John D’Agata is the author of About a Mountain and Halls of Fame, and editor of The Next American Essay and The Lost Origins of the Essay. He teaches creative writing at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, where he lives. Jim Fingal worked for several years as a fact-checker at The Believer and McSweeney’s, where he worked on the titles What Is the What, Surviving Justice, Voices from the Storm, and others. He currently lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he designs software. Evaluating Truth Recently, I engaged in an existential debate regarding the meaning of book evaluation. My… Read More →

Book Review: West of Here

West of Here: A Novel by Jonathan Evison (Chapel Hill: Algonquin Books, 2011. 496 pp) Born in San Jose, California, Jonathan Evison moved to Seattle and formed a punk band named March of Crimes, which included future members of Pearl Jam and Soundgarden. Before writing professionally, Evison worked as a laborer, caregiver, bartender, and syndicated radio host. His first book, All about Lulu, garnered critical acclaim winning the Washington State Book Award. Evison was awarded a Richard Buckley Fellowship from the Christopher Isherwood Foundation in 2009. Currently, he lives on Bainbridge Island in Western Washington. Prior Tenants Have you ever considered the history around the place you live? Since the earth is older than us (I know; strange right?), the… Read More →