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Sunday, January 04, 2004

Evening notes 

A.S. Byatt argues that the fantasy and magic inherent to fairy tales are still as relevant as ever. Of course, this is the woman who famously criticized J.K. Rowling in print, but any argument that brings up Angela Carter's marvelous books works for me.

A collection of letters by personal favorite James Thurber (for many reasons, but especially for "The Unicorn in the Garden" and "The MacBeth Murder Mystery") is now available and according to the Guardian, worthy of our interest.

Meanwhile, Peter Guttridge reviews Dean Koontz's latest at the Observer. He likes it, but finds it a tad too cute for his liking. Also at the O is a review of Harry Mulisch's SIEGFRIED, deemed a "mildly interesting failure," and Stephanie Merritt rounds up the potentially interesting new releases of the year.

Oline Cogdill ended 2003 with rave reviews of David Corbett's DONE FOR A DIME and Stephen Booth's BLIND TO THE BONES (both of which, interestingly enough, I haven't gotten to yet) and opens 2004 with a thoughtfully critical take on Jilliane Hoffman's much-hyped debut novel RETRIBUTION.

At the SF Chronicle, Malena Watrous deems Tracy Chevalier's new book "a fun read," and David Kipen remembers the late John Gregory Dunne with fondness and mirth.

At the T.O. Star, Geoff Pevere tries to get a handle on the historical significance of Playboy Magazine, 50 years in, which was something I myself attempted to do some time back.

And finally, even though the whole Nell Freudenberger thing is so 2003, Nancy Wigston reviews the book anyway--and digs it.

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