25 August 2021

Reading List April - June 2021

 Charles Yu, Interior Chinatown. NY: Pantheon, 2020.

An entertaining (and timely) examination of Asian-American identity, from the perspective of Generic Asian Man, an occasional character on the hit show Black & White.

Fritz Leiber, Green Millennium. NY: Ace, 1953.

Phil is not much given to adventure seeking, not until a green cat sneaks into his room. Once he meets Lucky, though, adventure (and exciting women) seem to seek Phil and his is,eventually, discussing his strange pet with the President.

Inspector Stark, Great Green Diamond. NY: Smith & Smith, 1906.

This is just about as colonial a novel as might be found. An “explorer” steals the eye of an African statue; the god’s high priest comes to reclaim it; black people die while white people determine the fate of their wealth and cultural heritage And it predates noir, so the stiff, formal language isn’t even fun to read.

Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness. London: Blackwood’s, 1899.

Everything the Great Green Diamond was not, Conrad’s examination of unchecked greed also hinges on exploiting Africans. Yet this has moral compass, and it also has Conrad’s lush, evocative, even overwhelming prose to create a sticky sensation that lingers long after the slim volume has been closed.