No Words Wasted Sale


Saturday, October 16th


How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

A review by Georgie Lewis

Daisy, the narrator of How I Live Now has the voice of a damaged young woman. She is brittle, scared, tough, but nave. Daisy, who has left New York's upper west side to visit her cousins in England, is a fifteen-year-old anorexic, self-absorbed and resentful of her stepmother "Davina the Diabolical." If this sounds like the sort of narrator that already makes you yawn please bear with me. Daisy is not only one of the freshest voices in young adult literature, she is also easily one of the most beguiling in contemporary western literature.

When Daisy arrives in London she is met by her fourteen-year-old cousin Edmond. His lit cigarette and casual approach to underage driving is quietly shocking to Daisy -- not to mention the ease at which he reads her thoughts.

Introduced to the eclectic bohemian clan of cousins and an aunt who has "Important Work To Do Related to the Peace Process," Daisy is immediately seduced. The whole set up -- a disheveled house replete with goats and...

Just How Stupid Are We?: Facing the Truth about the American Voter by Rick Shenkman

Mock the Vote

A review by Gerry Donaghy

During the fourth season of The Simpsons, there was an episode where the residents of Springfield gathered in a contest to see who could kill the largest number of snakes on what is called Whacking Day. After Bart and Lisa (with the help of Barry White) show the townspeople the error of state-sanctioned snake slaughter, Springfield's Kennedy-esque mayor arrives with an armload of pre-killed snakes, inciting boos and hisses from the now-enlightened crowd. Mayor Quimby hollers back, "You're all a bunch of fickle mush heads," to which the crowd responds, "He's right. Give us hell, Quimby."

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  • Yalo (Rainmaker Translations) by Elias Khoury

    City of Shards

    A review by Siddhartha Deb

    The fragments of the past never add up to a whole in Beirut. The city seems to communicate in images rather than in narrative, presenting a kaleidoscope of car bomb assassinations and refugee camps, Israeli warplanes and Hezbollah fighters, shards that whirl before our eyes without yielding much meaning. And these pieces are only from recent years, thrown up by a city that already holds in its subterranean layers the 1975-90 civil war, with its militias and massacres, and long before that the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire and colonial occupation by the French. When a writer attempts, then,...

    The Mission Song by John le Carre

    The Interpreter

    A review by Philip Caputo

    I don't know what accounts for the longevity of so many contemporary American and European writers, in terms of both lifespans and productivity. Not too long ago, short lives were common in the literary world. Today, the likes of Saul Bellow, pounding the keys almost to the moment of his death at 89, or Philip Roth, who arguably has done his best work after becoming eligible for Medicare, or Gunter Grass, making headlines with his new memoir at 78, are the rule.

    I am reminded of a comment Thomas McGuane made a few years ago: With so many authors living so long, a writer nowadays can remain ...

    A Visit to Don Otavio: A Traveller's Tale from Mexico by Sybille Bedford

    A review by Benjamin Schwarz

    Bedford — that fantastically glamorous, cosmopolitan writer — spent the Second World War penned up in Manhattan; before her return to England she "had a great longing to move, to hear another language, eat new food; to be in a country with a long nasty history in the past and as little present history as possible." So she traveled through Mexico with a woman friend. She took no notes, but she sent postcards; when she got back to London, she called her correspondents to collect those cards and started writing. The result was this, her first book and — by wide agreement —...

    Big Girl Small by Rachel DeWoskin

    Humiliation, High School Style

    A review by Maureen Corrigan

    Don't read this novel if you have teenagers. Or ever were a teenager -- especially a teenage girl. It will bring back high school in raw, oozing detail, like a psychic skinned knee. The cliques, the whispers, the glossy girls, the frantic parties, the stupid drinking, the disconnected sexual encounters and, perhaps worst of all, the carnival of lost souls that is the lunchtime cafeteria. High school: a world so hostile to the outsider that even a Navy Seal might hesitate at the threshold.

    There's one compelling reason, however, to ignore my warnings about Rachel DeWoskin's new novel, Big...

    Dogwalker: Stories (Vintage Contemporaries) by Arthur Bradford

    A review by C. P. Farley

    Each of the twelve stories in Arthur Bradford's debut collection, Dogwalker, is narrated by a twenty-something slacker, the sort of hapless-but-lovable youth who subsists on minimum wage and frozen pizza. They are generally surrounded by an assortment of charming misfits and their dogs. Lots of dogs. More than half of these stories feature at least one dog. In some, they come in half-dozen lots.

    Bradford's stories, though, barely justify the term. Short and sweet, they are more anecdotes than stories. For example, in "South for the Winter," the narrator steals a car from a blind friend...

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