Book Review: Manhattan Beach

Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan

Manhattan Beach: A Novel by Jennifer Egan (New York: Scribner, 2017. 448 pp) Jennifer Egan is the author of five previous books of fiction: A Visit from the Goon Squad, which won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award; The Keep; the story collection Emerald City; Look at Me, a National Book Award finalist; and The Invisible Circus. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine, Granta, McSweeney’s, and The New York Times Magazine. A Crisp Morning in the San Juans Life’s verification exists in the vignettes we embed in our unconsciousness. Our senses capture the material world and etch these memories into our brains like a Dürer woodcut. Of the many etchings catalogued in… Read More →

Television Show Review: Boardwalk Empire: Season 5

Boardwalk Empire Season 5

Boardwalk Empire: Season 5 created by Terence Winter (Home Box Office, Leverage Management, Closest to the Hole Productions) Starring Steve Buscemi, Michael Kenneth Williams, Shea Whigham, Stephen Graham, Michael Shannon, Jeffrey Wright, Gretchen Mol, Vincent Piazza, Anatol Yusef, and Kelly Macdonald. *Spoiler Alert for Previous Seasons* Nuclear Daydream What would it take to desensitize your soul? How many times must the dice roll the wrong way before you feel somnambulant, checked out, indifferent to anything? I’ve always felt like there’s a precipitous cliff involved with sporting interests. When your favorite team is really good, you care extensively. As the team gets worse, you care even more, as if your rooting energy and support can somehow will the team into a… Read More →

5 Questions about MaddAddam and HBO

MaddAddam HBO

On Believability Two of my favorites look to be joining forces. HBO announced a partnership between Margaret Atwood and Darren Aronofsky to bring the MaddAddam Trilogy to television. Atwood, best known for The Handmaid’s Tale, writes poetic yet horrifying speculative fiction. Perhaps the most accessible works in her catalogue, the MaddAddam Trilogy imagines a post-apocalyptic world drowned by the hubris of multi-national corporations. Aronofsky has made a name for himself directing movies that sit on the fence between auteur and the blockbuster. Fresh off his hit, Noah, will MaddAddam be the next canvas for his dark and brooding vision of humanity? I truly hope this series comes to fruition. But while we wait, there are a few questions that linger…. Read More →

Television Show Review: Boardwalk Empire: Season 4

Boardwalk Empire Season 4

Boardwalk Empire: Season 4 created by Terence Winter (Home Box Office, Leverage Management, Closest to the Hole Productions) Starring Steve Buscemi, Michael Kenneth Williams, Shea Whigham, Stephen Graham, Michael Shannon, Jack Huston, Jeffrey Wright, Gretchen Mol, Brian Geraghty, Margot Binham, and Ben Rosenfield. *Spoiler Alert for Previous Seasons in Effect* “A” “B” “C” “H” I’ve never seen so many stories at once in serialized television. The standard sitcom includes “A,” “B,” and “C” stories. And most often, three stories can be too much. But this season of Boardwalk Empire finds a way to execute not only “A”, “B,” and “C” stories, but also the show finds a way to an “H” story. Despite the complexity, Boardwalk Empire still creates riveting… Read More →

Television Show Review: Boardwalk Empire: Season 3

Boardwalk Empire Season 3

Boardwalk Empire: Season 3 created by Terence Winter (Home Box Office, Leverage Management, Closest to the Hole Productions) Starring Steve Buscemi, Kelly Macdonald, Michael Shannon, Shea Wigham, Michael Stuhlbarg, Stephen Graham, Vincent Piazza, Michael K. Williams, Gretchen Mol, Jack Huston, Bobby Cannavale. *Spoiler Alert for Previous Seasons in Effect* Breaking Bad… So to Say It was always coming to this. An anti-hero caught in between upstanding citizenry and the power and prestige of the underworld. Because of the Volstead Act, the 1920s represent an intriguing illustration in legislating morality and forcing morally ambiguous characters off the deep end. How far would you go to protect those you love? To make sure your life is secure? It’s a question phrased in… Read More →

Television Show Review: Boardwalk Empire: Season 2

Boardwalk Empire: Season Two created by Terence Winter (Home Box Office, Leverage Management, Closest to the Hole Productions) Starring Steve Buscemi, Michael Pitt, and Kelly Macdonald. Real People Do you ever feel like characters in television series lack depth? On one side, they exist as a funnel for catch phrases and pithy one-liners. On the other side, characters represent philosophical systems. Their mannerisms and dialogue feel stunted, unusual, and unreal. Why is it so difficult to write real people? Boardwalk Empire seems to do it well. The Power Play of Atlantic City Season Two begins with James “Jimmy” Darmody (Michael Pitt) conspiring with his father, the Commodore (Dabney Coleman), and Elias “Eli” Thompson (Shea Whigham) to remove Enoch “Nucky” Thompson… Read More →