Black Peter

Forman’s English was of course American English. Not a generic American English (if there is such a thing), more a particular gravelly, lowish-medium, side-of-the-mouth, flat, no-nonsense American voice, its register neither specifically formal nor specifically colloquial, speech requiring no movement of either lips or eyebrows, a nowhere dialect whose native territory one thinks of as Hollywood big-shots, neo-cons in think tanks, sellers of Ponzi schemes. [Read more]

Electric Ferry

Or perhaps these are the inevitable themes of a certain kind of writing in a certain kind of era. The narrator of the story of the Venus on the Malecón believes that a Time of Terror calls for the most elementary of reconstructions: “primitive materials . . . life histories, fictions, collections.” [Read more]

Harlem USA

A girlfriend’s Ukrainian mother from upstate is a disciple of Bishop S.C.Johnson of The Church of the Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith. In fulfillment of a promise we trek up to Harlem to hear him preach. What I remember of the evening is a courteous black cop at the head of the subway stairs, as though planted there just to watch out for innocents. Asked where we were going. Told us to take a bus the one block over, where the church was, which we did. [Read more]

Waltraute’s argument

Tall, striking, costumed in full Arthur Rackham mode from greaves to winged helmet and in all other respects seems to have wandered in from another production, from another time, from another moral universe. She manages to represent her character as believing in the argument she is making. [Read more]

Eisenstein’s Apology

Crowd running in a frenzy – mother and son falling – the Cossacks! – crowd running frantically – soldiers on horses – horses cutting off crowd – soldiers on steps advancing – people frantic to escape – soldiers firing on people – mother with baby carriage – soldiers marching down steps – mother fearful – baby crying – soldiers advancing – mother crying out – boots on steps – rifles firing in unison [Read more]

My new book

These novels—and Luggas Wood, which has nothing at all to do with Brooklyn—seem to me ultimately about the possibility of action in the narrow space between the brute facts of human violence and cruelty, and an increasingly impotent and fragmentary religious culture. [Read more]