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Literary Criticism, Memoirs

Choukri combines his forthright, unrepentant and keen observational talents with privileged first and second-hand access to three literary legends, all of whom responded to his curiosity and his questioning with sometimes welcome and revealing candor. And practically everything Choukri has to say about these writers—as well as himself—is worth noting.

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Fiction

Robert Stone’s Outerbridge Reach is a magnificent book.  And magnificent—with its roots in magnus, great, and facere, to make—is just the right word, le mot juste. This novel is large and ambitious and although there is a point in the story at which the tension—that tautness in the long line that has been pulling the reader along from the very beginning—slackens a bit, and the reader is asked to accept one single almost cliché but largely inevitable development in the narrative, the story is otherwise almost flawless. The first thing that impressedSEE DETAILS

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Fiction

Since I first started reading 1Q84 I’ve been trying to precisely determine what it might be in Murakami’s prose that makes him such a popular—and highly regarded—writer.  The words ‘ease’ and finally ‘casual’ kept coming to me:  his prose has an almost—but not quite—chatty feel to it, because it is so casual and in many ways so effortless to read.  Everything that is stated is stated frankly and directly, there is no nuance and little suggestion.  Even when characters meet and talk to each other they understand exactly what theSEE DETAILS

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Fiction

As a writer I always read critically, on numerous levels simultaneously, and at least one of my roaming critical eyes is always turned back upon myself—and my own work, and what I might or might not be able to achieve—in comparison to what I happen to be reading at the time. This happens every time I pick up a book, but it isn’t the only thing that happens.  And I only mention it now because some writing is so impressive upon first contact with it that the writer in me feelsSEE DETAILS

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Memoirs

Many books are easily forgotten whereas some sear the impression of their words and the stories they relate deep into the folds of your memory.  That memory may be short or long after the reading of these latter books, but those books will never be forgotten.

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