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Original Essays | Yesterday, 11:27am

Lin Enger: IMG Knowing vs. Knowing



On a hot July evening years ago, my Toyota Tercel overheated on a flat stretch of highway north of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. A steam geyser shot up from... Continue »
  1. $17.47 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

    The High Divide

    Lin Enger 9781616203757

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Customer Comments

Elliott Blackwell has commented on (13) products.

The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht
The Tiger's Wife

Elliott Blackwell, August 8, 2011

An amazingly accomplished first novel. I've read so many reviews that compare Ms. Obreht to Gabriel Garcia Marquez, but I found her to bear more similarities to another master, Isaac Bashevis Singer. Her use of magical realism only underscores the subject of grieving, loss, and death. Having said that, this story is a delight to read in the same way that reading a classic fable or folk tale would be. Obreht is a gifted writer with a vivid imagination that does not wander off into flights of fancy that don't connect with the material she's writing about.
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(2 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)



In Watermelon Sugar by Richard Brautigan
In Watermelon Sugar

Elliott Blackwell, July 26, 2011

In Watermelon Sugar is a sad, lonely novel with beautiful imagery. The nameless narrator tells of his life in the town of iDeath, which is a place like no other and not just because the sun shines a different color every day, and about his relationship with two different women Margaret and Pauline. They are what inspired the Neko Case song "Margaret vs. Pauline" off her album Fox Confessor Brings the Flood. Using deceptively simple prose, Richard Brautigan presents a world that is normal and oddly surreal at the same time. Certainly one of my favorite aspects of the novel is the story of the tigers with beautiful voices that sing and play instruments. They also do what tigers do by killing and eating people of the town, including the narrator's own parents. Despite this gruesome horror, that the narrator witnesses, he develops a fondness for the tigers, who help him with his math homework as they devour his mother and father. It's as if he understands that the tigers can't help their brutality because it's just part of their nature. Brutality is something that will slowly build until the violent climax of the novel.

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(0 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)



The Baron in the Trees (Harbrace Paperbound Library, 72) by Italo Calvino
The Baron in the Trees (Harbrace Paperbound Library, 72)

Elliott Blackwell, January 1, 2011

A fantastic tale in which Calvino creates a world steeped not just in the magic of Cosimo living in trees but in history, philosophy and politics as well. It is amazing how the author balances the whimsical with the human so effortlessly as he tells the story of this young noble who climbs up a tree in anger at his father and then chooses to live out his life in this arboreal setting. Somehow Italo Calvino makes this fantasy believable and fills it with such life, imagination,and poignancy that the reader cares deeply in the outcome. A rare feat that reminds the reader of the tales of childhood that first delighted us.

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Just Kids by Patti Smith
Just Kids

Elliott Blackwell, January 1, 2011

One of the most beautifully written books I've read. Smith's poetic voice lovingly recreates her life with the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. This does not read like the traditional rock autobiographies out there. Instead, she focuses on this relationship that formed her so deeply as a person and an artist. It, like Bob Dylan's Chronicles, is a book that can be read by even those who are not fans of their music.
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Just Kids by Patti Smith
Just Kids

Elliott Blackwell, August 17, 2010

A fascinating read. Like Dylan's Chronicles: Volume One, Just Kids is not the usual rock biography. Patti Smith's literate memoir is both love story and elegy. Like Smith's music, the writing is intelligent and moving. This is a celebration of not only her passionate relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe but of creative discovery. This memoir can stand along side Smith's definitive work Horses as a tribute to her craftsmanship and poetic talent.
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