Author: Dennis Haritou

On My Religion

If I were a citizen of pre-Christian Rome, then I would be worshipping in Jupiter’s temple. Since I know myself, I know that would be true. Rome would have philosophers or more thoughtfully inclined, better educated citizens who would want to probe further, maybe question established pieties or speculate Read more...

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Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi

20 years ago, Elisha, a resident of the Baghdad district of Bataween, said goodbye to her son Daniel who was conscripted against his will under the old regime. He never came back. But Elisha thinks he will return someday. The elderly woman, an Eastern Orthodox Christian, talks to her icon of Saint George, Read more...

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How to Do Culture

It’s the holiday season as I’m writing, and a lot of families are hitting cultural venues that they wouldn’t pay much attention to otherwise. I know when I was a regular church member, that was a while back, our rector would approach the seasonal increase in our church attendance with a certain Read more...

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Faith Fox by Jane Gardam

Faith Fox by Jane Gardam is the perfect holiday read, even if you’re a secular person like me and reach for the antacid when you read anything sentimental. If you’re religious, even if only once a year, then you’ll find in Faith Fox a clear-eyed, entertaining read, worthy by far of a BBC production, Read more...

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Mrs. Osmond by John Banville

Henry James’ Portrait of a Lady, an early work, was published in book form in 1881 after being serialized the previous year. John Banville’s sequel, Mrs. Osmond, will be published in the U.S. in November. In Portrait of a Lady, Isabel Archer, a newly affluent young woman, determined to remain Read more...

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The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

This is the third of my readings from the 2017 Man Booker longlist, including the winner, Lincoln in the Bardo and Exit West. I didn’t intend to read three “fantasy” novels in a row; the Man Booker jury had more to do with that than I did. Contemporary fiction still divides itself between realist Read more...

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Strangler Bob by Denis Johnson

'Strangler Bob', in the Oct 23rd New Yorker is as perfect and satisfying a short story, a prison tale, as I’ve read. but it starts out with a technical challenge that nearly led me to reject it: first person narration by an adolescent. First person narration is matchless in its immediacy but the Read more...

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Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

The impact of Mohsin Hamid’s new novel, shortlisted for the Man Booker, depends on the fulcrum of global migration and displacement. As the title Exit West implies, that movement is westward towards Europe and the Western Hemisphere. No one, or almost no one, is exiting east, and the implication of Read more...

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