I haven’t done one of these in a while, which means I’m really far behind on all the weird stuff that has arrived on my doorstep (for school, for review, for teaching, etc.).
So now you get to see the crazy stuff I’ve been looking at in the last few months.
After the Second World War, nationalism emerged as the principle expression of resistance to Western imperialism in a variety of regions from the Indian subcontinent to Africa, to parts of Latin America and the Pacific Rim. With the Bandung Conference and the formation of the Non-Aligned Movement, many of Europe’s former colonies banded together to form a common bloc, aligned with neither the advanced capitalist “First World” nor with the socialist “Second World.”
In this historical context, the category of “Third World literature” emerged, a category that has itself spawned a whole industry of scholarly and critical studies, particularly in the metropolitan West, but increasingly in the homelands of the Third World itself.
Setting himself against the growing tendency to homogenize “Third World” literature and cultures, Aijaz Ahmad has produced a spirited critique of the major theoretical statements on “colonial discourse” and “post-colonialism,” dismantling many of the commonplaces and conceits that dominate contemporary cultural criticism. With lengthy considerations of, among others, Fredric Jameson, Edward Said, and the Subaltern Studies group, In Theory also contains brilliant analyses of the concept of Indian literature, of the genealogy of the term “Third World,” and of the conditions under which so-called “colonial discourse theory” emerged in metropolitan intellectual circles.
Erudite and lucid, Ahmad’s remapping of the terrain of cultural theory is certain to provioke passionate response.
Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord
Karen Lord’s debut novel, which won the prestigious Frank Collymore Literary Prize in Barbados, is an intricately woven tale of adventure, magic, and the power of the human spirit.
Paama’s husband is a fool and a glutton. Bad enough that he followed her to her parents’ home in the village of Makendha, now he’s disgraced himself by murdering livestock and stealing corn. When Paama leaves him for good, she attracts the attention of the undying ones–the djombi–who present her with a gift: the Chaos Stick, which allows her to manipulate the subtle forces of the world. Unfortunately, a wrathful djombi with indigo skin believes this power should be his and his alone.
Bursting with humor and rich in fantastic detail, Redemption in Indigo is a clever, contemporary fairy tale that introduces readers to a dynamic new voice in Caribbean literature. Lord’s world of spider tricksters and indigo immortals, inspired in part by a Senegalese folk tale, will feel instantly familiar–but Paama’s adventures are fresh, surprising, and utterly original.
Africa First: Volume One by Various
From Focus Features, the premiere global brand in original and daring cinema, comes FOCUS WORLD. Charged with finding the most exciting new voices in international and independent film, Focus World is proud to bring you AFRICA FIRST: VOLUME ONE, the first in a series of short film collections from some of Africa’s most compelling new talent. Focus’ Africa First program is an initiative designed exclusively for filmmakers of African nationality and residence, and presents annual awards to the best and brightest from around the continent. After touring film festivals around the world, these Africa First short films are now available for audiences everywhere:
Dyana Gaye’s “St. Louis Blues,” an invigorating traveling musical; Jenna Bass’ “The Tunnel,” a moving story of a young girl in search of her father; Jan-Hendrik Beetge’s “The Abyss Boys,” a coming-of-age tale amidst rampant corruption and gang violence; and Wanuri Kahiu’s “Pumzi,” a startling vision of the future.
The New Bloomsday Book: A Guide Through Ulysses (3rd Edition) by Harry Blamires
This is a highly accessible, indispensable guide for anyone reading Joyce’s masterpiece for the first time. A crystal clear, page-by-page, line-by-line running commentary on the plot of Ulysses.
Dead Head by Rosemary Harris
The talented Rosemary Harris continues to pick up steam, garner acclaim, and collect fans with her quirky, beloved Dirty Business Mystery series
Fugitive Mom. That’s the tabloid headline that rocks Springfield, Connecticut when one of the town’s favorite ladies is discovered to be an escaped convict. With a little help from the always game Lucy Cavanaugh, Paula is hired to find out which of her neighbors is a fugitive from the law and why the long-kept secret has finally come out.
Dubliners by James Joyce (Norton Critical Edition)
Dubliners is arguably the best-known and most influential collection of short stories written in English, and has been since its publication in 1914.
Through what Joyce described as their “style of scrupulous meanness,” the stories present a direct, sometimes searing view of Dublin in the early twentieth century. The text of this Norton Critical Edition is based on renowned Joyce scholar Hans Walter Gabler’s edited text and includes his editorial notes and the introduction to his scholarly edition, which details and discusses Dubliners’ complicated publication history. “Contexts” offers a rich collection of materials that bring the stories and the Irish capital to life for twenty-first century readers, including photographs, newspaper articles and advertising, early versions of two of the stories, and a satirical poem by Joyce about his publication woes. “Criticism” brings together eight illuminating essays on the most frequently taught stories in Dubliners—”Araby,” “Eveline,” “After the Race,” “The Boarding House,” “Counterpoints,” “A Painful Case,” and “The Dead.” Contributors include David G. Wright, Heyward Ehrlich, Margot Norris, James Fairhall, Fritz Senn, Morris Beja, Roberta Jackson, and Vincent J. Cheng. 8 maps; 20 illustrations
The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam by Ann Marie Fleming
A full-color graphic memoir inspired by the award-winning documentary-and the life and mystery of China’s greatest magician.
Who was Long Tack Sam?
He was born in 1885. He ran away from Shangdung Province to join the circus. He was an acrobat. A magician. A comic. An impresario. A restaurateur. A theater owner. A world traveler. An East-West ambassador. A mentor to Orson Welles. He was considered the greatest act in the history of vaudeville.
In this gorgeous graphic memoir, his great-granddaughter, the artist and filmmaker Ann Marie Fleming, resurrects his fascinating life for the rest of the world. It’s an exhilarating testament to a forgotten man. And every picture is true.
The Wanting Seed by Anthony Burgess
Set in the near future, The Wanting Seed is a Malthusian comedy about the strange world overpopulation will produce.
Tristram Foxe and his wife, Beatrice-Joanna, live in their skyscraper world where official family limitation glorifies homosexuality. Eventually, their world is transformed into a chaos of cannibalistic dining-clubs, fantastic fertility rituals, and wars without anger. It is a novel both extravagantly funny and grimly serious.
Futures From Nature edited by Henry Gee
Are aliens really not interested in us at all? Is there a significant health benefit from drinking your own urine? Is loading your personality into a computer the best way to survive the death of the body? Is the death of the body really necessary? Here are a very large number of very small fictions on the subject of the future and what it might be like. The authors include scientists, journalists, and many of the most famous SF writers in the world.
Futures from Nature includes everything from satires and vignettes to compressed stories and fictional book reviews, science articles, and journalism, in eight-hundred-word modules. All of them are entertaining and as a group they are a startling repository of ideas and attitudes about the future. These pieces were originally published in the great science journal Nature between 1999 and 2006, as one-page features that proved very popular with readers. This is a unique book, of interest to any reader who might like to speculate about the future.
The Exception to the Rulers: Exposing Oily Politicians, War Profiteers, and the Media That Love Them by Amy Goodman
No description on Amazon and I’m too lazy to copy it from the book.
Any of these sound interesting to you? And what have you received/bought/etc. lately?