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The Powell's Playlist | August 8, 2014

Peter Mendelsund: IMG The Powell's Playlist: Water Music by Peter Mendelsund

We "see" when we read, and we "see" when we listen. There are many ways in which music can create the cross-sensory experience of this seeing...... Continue »
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The Reapers Are the Angels by Alden Bell
The Reapers Are the Angels

hmillay, September 1, 2011

This is a strange and wondrous book. It reminds me of True Grit, but with just the girl and no Rooster Cogburn, plus zombies. Also the chase is in reverse - in True Grit the girl is hunting down the man who killed her father, while in this book the girl is being hunted down by the man whose brother she killed. That girl, 15-year-old Temple, was born post-zombie apocalypse, so it's the only world she knows. She's tough as nails and slices and dices the "meatskins" (and anybody else who threatens her, for that matter) like nobody's business. But even with all the action and brutal violence, this is in incredibly thoughtful and achingly beautiful novel. It's full of big ideas (What does it mean to be human? Is it enough to survive? Can there be beauty and magic and light in a dark and broken world?), plus the pacing is flawless and the prose essentially the brilliant love child of Faulkner and Cormac McCarthy. I have a feeling this book isn't for everyone, but it's easily earned a place in my top ten.

A snippet:

"And she turns her back on the lost and the dead and the trampled down, she leaves them to their airy graves, and she and the big man next to her look upward at heaven and find there not just gates and angels but other wonders too, like airplanes that go faster than sound and statues taller than any man and waterfalls taller than any statues and buildings taller than any waterfall and stories taller still that reach up and hook you by the britches on the cusp of the moon, where you can look and see the earth whole, and you can see how silly and precious a little marble it really is after all."
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