Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Two From Barbara

Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall ($14).

Our 2006 Modern Firsts Pick gets a rave from Audrey Niffenegger of an earlier MFC Pick The Time Traveler's Wife ($14): "…riddled with typographic games, codes, a flip book, and a boatload of very elegant plot devices that hinge on collisions between the Information Age and the imagination. At one point Eric and Scout, his guide/love interest, are speeding away from the conceptual shark on a motorbike. Scout eludes the shark by exploding a letter bomb, a bomb made out of old metal type; the type diverts the shark into a stream of random letterforms. At this I practically fell off the couch with admiration. There's plenty to groove on even if you're not a type maven. There's echoes of Cyberpunk, Borges, Auster; there is adventure on the high seas, lost love, an exploration of what it means to be human in the age of intelligent machines. … huge fun, and I gleefully recommend it." Nicely said, Audrey, and from a type maven like you, a real compliment.

Assassin's Accomplice by Kate Clifford Larson (Basic $26).

Mary Surratt, a little-known participant in the plot to kill Abraham Lincoln, was the first woman ever to be executed by the federal government. A Confederate sympathizer, she ran the boarding house in Washington where the conspirators--including her rebel son, John Surratt—met. Based on long-lost interviews, confessions, and court testimony, the text explores how Mary's actions defied nineteenth-century norms of femininity, piety, and motherhood, leaving her vulnerable to deadly punishment historically reserved for men.

To read another unusual treatment – in a novel – of the conspirators, you can't do better than Nevada Barr's Anna Pigeon novel Flasback ($7.99) set today at the Dry Tortugas National Park where Dr. Mudd was imprisoned.

To read more:

No comments:

Post a Comment