Babies, bathwater, and back to the sacred

The Western Enlightenment, in all its euphoria at Reason’s liberation from old-crock orthodoxies, has thrown some babies out with the bathwater — e.g. perspectives and values that might better serve modern people. Such as? Such as common goals and values that promote individual development and satisfaction within shared senses of community. Such as universal principles by which to judge different cultural, religious and ideological institutions and actions. Rationalistic secular reductionism has been left with merely scientistic measures that seem, at … Read more

Dark Night of My Quick Guns XVII, by Allie Ambit: A brief review

Jack Shackaway presents a review of a recent Mickey’s Muse product:

explosion hollywoodTHIS BOOK never fails to satisfy basic reader expectations, but I was disappointed that, in key ways, it never exceeds them.

Take the lead scene, for example. Mr. Ambit presents everything that Hollywood wants—a startling instance of random structural violence, with much smoke and flame and opportunity for the action hero to squint in the general direction of the shitstorm and wince in a way that suggests strong … Read more

Writerly occupational hazards: Plagiarism

Plagiarism has become more tempting and easier, perhaps, in this digital age. The danger of being found out may also be greater.

Here’s a copy of the letter I e-mailed a week ago to The Tribune, New Delhi (I’ve yet to hear from either the newspaper or the writer):

Dear Editors,

I must inform you that more than half of Uma Vasudeva’s review of C.Y. Gopinath’s The Books of Answers (The Tribune, New Delhi, 7 August 2011) 

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The Book of Answers

C.Y. “Gopi” Gopinath, a Bangkok-based writer of note, has just published his first novel, which promises even greater success than his globetrotting chronicle Travels with the Fish (HarperCollins India, 1999). The Book of Answers, released just this month, also by HarperCollins India, has already soared to #10 on the bestseller list in that country.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m going to don my “let’s pitch this book to a modern market” hat, something I … Read more

Incoming, incoming! Or, the problem with glass houses


I’ve decided one of the comments on my last blog installment merits a post in itself, together with my response. This is from a friend and professional editor:

“Is “Eyes filled with disquiet” a full sentence or is it a noun modified by a phrase? Do you mean to say the eyes, they filled with disquiet? Or these are eyes that are filled with disquiet?”

My initial response:

“The latter, of course.”

Then, following further reflection:

If that isn’t “of … Read more

Stones hurled from a glass house

Bangkok Noir is enjoying favorable review, both locally and abroad. But I’d like to critique the second sentence of my own contribution to that story collection, “Hot Enough to Kill.” In fact, I suggest that readers take a pen and revise it.

Here’s the printed version (not mine—I swear that some gremlin on my computer vandalized the sentence; I have two copies of the story that read the way I wrote them, and two more corrupted versions):

Eyes are filled … Read more

Harvest Season—better than The Beach?

In my opinion, Chris Taylor’s Harvest Season is a better story, better told, than Alex Garland’s The Beach.

I compare the two books only because each involves “backpackers” on the Asia trail. Taylor’s story unfolds in relatively remote China, whereas The Beach is set in what are supposed to be islands in the Gulf of Thailand. With Harvest Season, though, I have a much surer sense that the writer is indeed familiar with his geographical and subcultural settings. … Read more

Not just another bargirl book

She Kept the Bar Between Them: Stories from Thailand

by Steve Rosse

BangkokBooks (2011)

www.bangkokbooks.com

info@bangkokbooks.com

Long-time Phuket resident (now living back in the States) and frequent contributor to a variety of Thailand publications in years past, Steve Rosse has recently added an e-book collection of new stories to his credits.

These disturbing, often blackly comic tales issue from a darker side of human nature. Some of the stories chronicle encounters with bargirls, and some of these verge on the … Read more