Throughout the book, Holmes gives readers fascinating tidbits of information that bring Sylvia and her associates to life. We learn, for instance, that when she and the East London Federation of Socialists established a day care centre during World War I in a renovated former pub, they named this creche “The Mothers’ Arms”.
The fifty-odd pieces that make up this collection are divided thematically into eleven different sections and take aim at national holidays, movies, language, literature and a host of other themes, from a Native American perspective, and culminate in a merciless assessment of the Donald Trump administration, the coup de grâce a poem entitled ”Ars Poetica by Donald Trump.”
In Square Haunting: Five Writers in London Between the Wars, Wade profiles the imagist poet, Hilda Doolittle (H.D.); the mystery novelist Dorothy L. Sayers; two scholars/academics, Jane Ellen Harrison and Eileen Powers, and the modernist novelist Virginia Woolf. All five, writes Wade, “pushed the boundaries of scholarship, literary form [and] societal norms in order to have lives of the mind in which their creative work took priority.
Flynn’s attention to detail in describing Sizemore’s various meetings and situations is what makes the story so believable and hilarious. Always the gentleman (“I’d learned through osmosis from my father that you always compliment somebody before you turn them down”), he gets what he wants with a smile. It’s a lesson in how to conduct yourself in the most difficult situations with the most persuasive people. There are very few revered institutions and American ideals that are left unscathed by Flynn, and rightfully so.
I have to restrain myself from simply summarizing some these marvelous 84 essays culled from over two decades of publishing, but as with all flash, fiction as well as nonfiction, it’s the gem-like brilliance of the individual pieces that stands out.
While Rose’s story grabs reader attention, Hochschild’s book is compelling because he tells a bigger story. He shows us the gap between rich and poor during the Gilded Age and the early 20th century and educates readers in a lucid and accessible sty le about early struggles for a fairer, kinder society.
All of the pieces are powerful, richly depicted, allowing the reader access to the very core of transition. Kofman has a well-tuned sense of what works together and the pieces flow together perfectly, each essay informing the work that surrounds it, so that the overall book feels interlinked. It makes for engaging reading that is emotionally powerful throughout.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t spend time Googling these people, or that I wasn’t fascinated by the whole notion of what constitutes beauty – and the way in which it’s judged. Kofman doesn’t pretend to have an answer—Imperfect is not a didactic book, and nor does it present a thesis that beauty is more than ‘skin deep’ and that judgement in any form is bad–we cannot help gazing at the beautiful or indeed the shocking. What the book does show however, is that these are complex and important questions to raise and that familiarity and reflectiveness are a means to better understanding who we are.
Gill’s book is a tour de force in bringing together information about Virginia Woolf’s Pattle ancestors and the Thackeray connection; in showing the damaging patriarchal milieu out of which she fought her way, and in highlighting her use of autobiographical material in her novels.
Reading Fifty Miles brought me to tears a few times, but St Germain courage and determination inspired me and made me reflect as a mother. Fifty Miles is a book that won’t disappoint readers.