Stephen Birmingham’s Life at the Dakota is a work of cultural history full of juicy tidbits. And there is an upstate connection.
Jane is very taken with Chechov’s short stories: “…he refuses to turn away from those aspects of life that seem the most horrific and inexplicable; his stories seem compelled to comes to terms with them.”
“This novel, the first by Atticus Lish, is angry, depressing, self-righteous, overwritten, and pretentious. It’s also, in a way, brilliant and ground-breaking.”
Jane concludes, “Seldom do we meet a man like Frazier, who does not shrink from seeing what there is to see on the surface, and who can see what there is to see in the depths, as well.~
Tompkins: I loved it because it explained to me where a certain tone I’ve come to recognize in Patchett’s writing comes from—in it you hear a knowing, slightly abashed, acceptance of human frailty and misdoings.