Book Reviews

Native Son

It is clear almost from the beginning that Bigger Thomas is doomed, trapped in a downward spiral that will lead to arrest, prison, or death, driven by despair, frustration, poverty, and incomprehension.

Flaubert's Parrot

Julian Barnes astounds. Just what sort of book is this, anyway? A literary biography of 19th century French novelist, radical, and intellectual impresario Gustave Flaubert? A meditation on the uses and misuses of language? A novel of obsession, denial, irritation, and underhanded connivery? A thriller complete with disguises, sleuthing, mysterious meetings, and unknowing targets?

Victor Frankl - Finding Meaning and Purpose

When I was eighteen years old in the spring of 1968, in a book store on the square in Racine, Wisconsin, I found a little book titled Man’s Search for Meaning, by philosopher and psychotherapist Victor Frankl. The author survived Auschwitz during the Second World War. He emerged from the death camp having lost everything that mattered to him. His beloved wife was dead, his family was dead, almost all of his friends or acquaintances were dead or dying.

Cameron Penny's poem

If you are lucky in this life,
A window will appear on a battlefield between two armies.
And when the soldiers look into the window
They don’t see their enemies.
They see themselves as children.
And they stop fighting
And go home and go to sleep. When they wake up, the land is well again.

Cameron Penny's If You Are Lucky in This Life was originally published in the November/December 2001 issue of North American Review. Marie Howe reads his poem in the film Voices in Wartime.